More than two-and-a-half years after the National Security Guards (NSG), an elite force for countering terror and conducting anti-hijack operations, set up camp in Mumbai, the elite anti-terror commandos finally got a home of their own at Marol.
On Thursday, Union home minister P Chidambaram inaugurated the NSG’s permanent infrastructure on a 20-acre fully-equipped site located on the new, but busy, Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road.
The Mumbai hub is expected to house at least 250 NSG commandos, who are drawn equally from the army and the paramilitary.
“The government has kept its promise of setting up hubs across the country so that NSG commandos are never too far away from any place in India,” said Chidambaram.
In 2009, the Centre decided to set up NSG hubs at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad after drawing a lesson from the delayed arrival of the elite commandos at Mumbai when 10 Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists attacked the the city on November 26, 2008.
The Mumbai hub will serve not just the city but the states of western India and some parts of central India.
Chidambaram pointed out that the airport is just 7km away from the hub. “But, because of the traffic, it takes 20 minutes to reach the airport. I will tell the NSG to cut down the time as much as possible,” he said.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan welcomed the completion of the permanent centre and pointed out that during the 26/11 terror attacks, NSG commandos were flown down from New Delhi, wasting precious time.
The Union home minister also revealed that while the NSG remained headquartered in Manesar, near New Delhi, it was setting up a large regional centre over 600 acres in Hyderabad.
Urging the NSG to remain vigilant and remain among the top anti-terror forces, Chidambaram said: “It isn’t enough to say we are among the best. Others must say we are among the best and one day, we are the best.”