Tuesday, May 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Punjab prunes security cover
Withdraws over 5,000 guards
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 19
The Punjab police has made a drastic cut in the security cover of various VIPs and other persons, withdrawing over 5,000 security guards who will now be available for deployment in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala and Amritsar districts.

Sources said today there were now 44 categorised VIPs entitled to the X, Y or Z category security cover. By the end of year 2002, there were 88 such persons.

At present, there were only 7,78 persons who had been given security cover by deploying 5,600 police guards while the number of such persons till the end of 2002 was 1954, having 10,607 police guards to protect them.

Even the number of security vehicles accompanying such VIPs had now been cut to 151 from 221. There were about 234 bureaucrats and other officers who had been provided with guards, according to sources.

Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the Punjab CPI, had recently criticised the Punjab Government for providing security to small time politicians and other persons. Urging the government to minimise the security cover, Dr Dayal, had stated that there were a large number of VIPs and even civil officers, who had no threat from any quarter but had taken security guards as a status symbol.

Another exercise is expected to be held soon to further slash the number of protected persons, according to sources. The number of such persons, according to the latest assessment made by the authorities concerned, should be only around 500.

Mr Rajinder Singh, IG (Security), said such exercises were held from time to time to review security cover.

Meanwhile, the police authorities also wanted to reduce the number of persons privileged to affix red lights atop their vehicles. Sources said the police authorities had moved a file to the Punjab Government to remove SGPC members and certain other VIPs from the list of those entitled to use red lights. The Badal Government had allowed this facility to the SGPC members.

As per the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the police has also stopped the issuance of permits allowing the use of black films in cars and other vehicles. “We have declared earlier permits invalid and the number of those allowed to use black films is now only 16”, said a senior police officer. Such permission was now given only in the rarest of rare cases as per the judgement of the court”.

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