Mumbai: A day after the Bombay High Court pulled up the Maharashtra government over lax implementation of security measures; CNN-IBN finds that Mumbai's anti-terror agencies are grappling with a severe manpower crunch.
Equally troubling is the never ending wait for arms and ammunition - demands for which are stuck in red tape.
Eight major terror attacks in the last two decades - from 1993 serial blasts, to this year's 13/7 attack, more than 500 have perished. And Mumbai remains on high alert almost every second day. But, apart from this perennial challenge, Mumbai's security set-up is silently grappling with another crisis.
The specialised Maharashtra Anti-terrorism Squad was sanctioned 90 Sub-Inspectors, but 80 posts are lying vacant. Same goes with Assistant Inspectors, Assistant Commissioners and even senior positions like Deputy Commissioners. The ATS is almost 40 per cent short of staff.
Mumbai Police, which received 27 alerts and 61 specific threats this year, is short of over 3000 men. Like the ATS, even they are deficient of more than 1400 Sub-Inspectors, 51 Inspectors and 6 DCPs Sub Inspectors.
Former Commisioner of Police Julio Rebeiro said, "Manpower which is already there should be properly utilised and motivated, that is not happening, for example a lot of manpower is being wasted in VIP security.
Apart from being woefully short of eyes and ears on the ground to gather intelligence, due to red tape, the state police havent even received some of the critical arms and ammunition.
Acquired through an RTI, the Maharashtra government letter to Central Home Ministry sent three days after the July serial blasts underscores the urgency of arms and ammunition and mentions the long list of equipment stuck in red tape.
More than 1,400 INSAS Rifles, 10,000 SLRs, 15 lakh AK 47 Ammunition, 16 lakh 9mm Ammunition and the list goes on.
While Union Home Minister P Chidambaram earlier stressed upon capacity building and state Home Minister RR Patil had visited UK to study its sophisticated anti-terror model, it is the lack of basic necessities here that's seemingly rendering the current model ineffective.