Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has turned down Home Minister R R Patil’s request to downsize his security cover from the existing Z+ to Y category.
Patil had, in May this year, forwarded a proposal to cut down the number of policemen from his personal security retinue. But the chief minister, while taking a call on the police protection given to very and very, very important people, refused to accept his request, sources from the state government told this newspaper.
“Initially, Patil was against any security cover for himself. However, he was told about his task as the guardian minister of Naxal-infested Gadchiroli district,” a source said The state government, in following the Supreme Court’s directions, has done a review of the security being provided to state personages.
The process begins with the state police department assessing the threat perception of each VIP and accordingly moving proposals to a state-level committee, which is chaired by the chief secretary and has a representative from the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
The committee forwards its views and recommendations to the state home department, after which it goes for the approval of the chief minister¸ the final authority in upgrading or downsizing police protection.
In the same review, many politicos have seen a sharp drop in the security cover afforded to them. The protection provided to former chief minister Ashok Chavan, former deputy chief minister Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, Republican Party of India (Athawale) leader Ramdas Athawale and others has been curtailed, in view of a low threat perception.
Expectedly, a few politicians are upset with the decision and have made representations to the state government. Quizzed about the move, Patil said, “It’s not proper to speak on an issue that is considered sensitive.
But the state has approved the review report submitted by the state police. We have asked to verify the representations made by the aggrieved parties. Periodic reviews are done to check threat perceptions.”
X, Y, Z of security
Z+ category, the highest level, provides for round-the-clock protection, with a staff of 36 policemen including a senior inspector and sub-inspectors.
Z category has a security cover of 22 people
Y category provides a cover of 11 policemen
X category has a security cover of 2 personnel.
On-request security for women in city
Home Minister RR Patil also said that the police would provide security to women as part of a pilot project that will see how feasible such a venture is.
“The state police have been asked to provide security to women on request. It’s not just for women journalists but any woman who feels insecure at a particular place. During late hours, anyone who finds it difficult to get a cab or reach a railway station can make a request to the police and they will escort her to a safe place nearby,” he said. “I have sought a report on the additional manpower and vehicles needed for the cause,” Patil added. “It will be a pilot project for Mumbai. Besides, efforts are on to reduce Mumbai police’s response time (in case of emergencies) from seven minutes to six minutes. Traffic in the city is a problematic issue in this regard,” he said.