While the biggest challenge before Maharashtra is to prevent another terror strike and also tackle the crisis of credibility in investigation and conviction in the ongoing blast cases, the government is focussing on upgrading intelligence, communications and police training as a first step.
In an informal interaction with the media here on Sunday, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that as a priority communications would be upgraded all over the State at four levels. The wireless systems in police control rooms would be digitised and upgraded. Satellite phones, improved wireless systems and radio networks and CCTVs would be procured soon. CCTVs would be installed at major junctions and red tape in purchases would be cut. The government had accepted that there was a failure in buying the CCTV systems and it would expedite equipment purchase.
On Monday, the Chief Minister would view two presentations on CCTVs. The government was set to buy over 5,000 sets. As for the crisis of credibility arising from repeated terror strikes, the administration proposed to create public awareness and improve governance. There was need for “confidence-building measures,” it was felt.
Mr. Chavan said the July 13 terror strike was different from 26/11, which which was a more organised attack. On Wednesday, bombs had been placed in bins and on a scooter, and they contained the easily accessible ammonium nitrate. He said he would read once again the report of the Ram Pradhan committee, which went into the 26/11 attack, and see what remained to be implemented.
Electronic intelligence had to be upgraded to international standards.
Mr. Chavan agreed that there was delay in bringing terror cases to their logical conclusion, and said cases needed to be tried on a day-to-day basis by special courts. He would press this demand at the next meeting of the National Development Council. Terror cases had to be investigated and prosecuted quickly, he agreed.
He agreed that high-level training in intelligence gathering and policing and attracting the best people in areas of specialisation like tackling cybercrime were imperative. The government also needed to discuss security issues more often and in depth.
Official sources said the Cabinet had little time for security matters, with so many issues and Ministers, each having their own concerns. However after 26/11, a State Security Council and a State Security Commission were set up. Both needed to hold more meetings and had to be streamlined if they were to achieve anything.
As for Mr. Chavan’s comment that the Home portfolio should have stayed with the Congress, the matter has now been resolved after he spoke to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. However, sources close to Mr. Chavan said the Chief Minister could involve senior Nationalist Congress Party leaders and examine how more cohesive decisions could be taken. This suggestion comes after Mr. Pawar’s statement on Saturday that once top-level leaders decided on power sharing, no one should meddle with it. The Congress has already clarified that the Chief Minister’s remarks were not intended to lay the blame at the NCP’s door. Hindu