The Telegraph
Saturday , July 16 , 2011
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Lessons learnt & unlearnt

NSG base

Status: Land for the base allotted in Mumbai’s western suburbs but little else done.

Intelligence school

Status: Done. The academy, the only such state-level school in the country, was set up at Ramtekdi in Pune in 2009. Earlier, the intelligence wing was filled with recruits from within state police. Now 50 per cent intelligence posts are filled through direct recruitment with focus on expertise in technology.

Force One

Status: Done. The commando force, trained by the NSG, was deployed on the eve of the first anniversary of 26/11 in 2009. Around 500 were picked from 3,000 applicants and 216 given training and inducted into Force One. It is headed by Sadanand Date, who fought Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab at Cama Hospital. The commandos also received training from the College of Military Engineering and the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

However, with the limelight fading, complaints have arisen that the requirements of the force are being neglected.

Standard drill

Status: Done. After the committee found fault with the then standard operating procedure (SOP), a new drill was put in place when D. Sivanandan, who served as the model for the underworld-buster officer in the film Company, was police commissioner.

Coastal shield

Status: Done. After cross-border terrorists used the sea route to enter Mumbai on 26/11, a plan for increased coastal security was conceived. Twelve police stations were set up along the coast. Sealegs, an amphibious marine craft, and Argo Avenger, an eight-wheel-drive amphibious off-road vehicle, were inducted. Orders were placed for 29 boats.

Combat units

Status: Done. Thirty-nine assault teams with 586 combat-ready personnel were deployed in 39 divisions of Mumbai. Their weapons include AK-47s and 9mm carbines. According to the plan, these teams would be the first to respond in case of a terror attack, followed by the Quick Response Team commandos and Force One personnel.


Status: Done. The Marksman is a capsule-shaped light bullet-proof vehicle purchased to respond to a 26/11-like siege. The vehicle is meant for combat situations, not detecting explosives.

Security council

Status: Done. A 64-member council with representatives from different fields has been created.

The council has been divided into six sub-groups communication and cyber security, public awareness and education, community outreach programme, security protocol for commercial establishments, industry administration interview, and control of crimes related to narcotics, smuggling and hijacking. But the council has had only a few meetings and its effectiveness is unclear.

Special Ops chief

Status: Done. The post of DGP (Special Operations) was created to avoid clashes between the Mumbai crime branch (which reports to the Mumbai police chief) and the state Anti-Terrorist Squad (which reports to the state director-general of police).

However, the tenures of the officers appointed to the post Jayant Umranikar and Sanjeev Dayal had been too short to make an impact. The post lay vacant for several months after Dayal was promoted as Mumbai police chief. S.P. Gupta was appointed to the post a few days ago.

CCTV network

Status: Partly done. The railway police and the traffic police did install CCTV cameras at railway stations and key traffic junctions but the footage is not monitored daily. After being attacked twice, the Zaveri Bazaar trader associations installed 30 to 40 cameras on their own. However, when the bomb went off on Wednesday, the closest CCTV camera failed to record any actionable footage, police sources said. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan admitted that red tape had delayed the process to buy 5,000 CCTV cameras.

Unclog phone lines

Status: Not done. Mobile phone networks had jammed for several hours after Wednesday’s blasts. Chief minister Chavan himself could not contact top officials for as long as 15 minutes after the blasts, which delayed a crisis meeting at the state secretariat. Promises to find a solution have never been fulfilled. Chavan said an alternative radio communication network was essential for the state to act swiftly during emergency situations.

Telecom officials have said there is no solution to this problem as far as common people are concerned because of the sheer volume of calls and messages a crisis triggers.

Bullet-proof jackets

Status: Done. After faulty jackets were blamed for the death of former ATS chief Hemant Karkare, the police placed orders for better protective gear. When the state government failed to give money, it was raised from builders.

Security audit

Status: Done. In the 32 months since 26/11, the police have conducted a security audit of all key installations to point out the security flaws and recommended upgrades in some places. Mock exercises are conducted every few months at big malls and multiplexes.

Rapid medical aid

Status: Done. Medical help was provided to the injured swiftly this time with as many as 13 hospitals admitting patients. Although there were complaints of chaos, almost all patients were in hospital in an hour.

Information flow

Status: Done. The dissemination of information has been swifter than that in the past. The police circulated text messages to citizens informing them of the blasts. Control rooms saw better co-ordination.

A few days ago, Chavan had reviewed the preparedness of the disaster management mechanism in view of the monsoon.

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