Panel to review security system at Parliament

Ex-Union home secretary and BJP member R K Singh to head panel

Panel to review security system at Parliament

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has constituted a committee to review parliamentary security system (PSS) that is struggling with long-pending service matters related to staff and safety infrastructure.

The panel will be headed by BJP member R K Singh, who retired as Union home secretary. Two other members of the review committee are also drawn from the BJP — former director generals of police of Maharashtra and Rajasthan Satpal Singh and Harish Meena, respectively, while joint secretary (parliament security) Ajay Anand will act as member secretary. 

R K Singh confirmed to Deccan Herald that he is the chairman of the committee that will hold its first meeting on Thursday to look into the issues plaguing the PSS.

The PSS is the in-house security set up which carry out policing in the entire Parliament building. The outer layer of the security cover is with paramilitary forces that raised a specialised unit called Parliament Duty Group (PDG) a year ago for guarding the entire complex: The Parliament house, reception office building, library building and Parliament house annexe.

ITBP DIG Rakesh Singh Negi, who was on deputation in the parliamentary security, had created ripples in the secretariat when he wrote a letter to his seniors last month bringing on record shortcomings in the administration of security set-up which, he believed, was necessary to plug for effective shielding of the premises. Since then, Negi has retired from service. 

The PSS has two wings: One that provides physical duty and the other technical by way operating various gadgets installed on the premise. Together, their strength is believed to be around 350.

But a section of the staff believes that the service and welfare matters of security assistants manning important locations of the building have been ignored for years.  Due to lack of manpower, given that the huge number vacancies have not been filled for last few years, the assistants have to slog longer hours. And the focus, they complain, is more on the technical side of the security. 

The secretariat is at present engaged in replacing the CCTVs installed in the parliament complex since they were installed after the 2001 terrorist attack. The technical side of the PSS comprises people drawn from different government departments. There is a demand to bring parity in the pay scale, promotion and other issues in the PSS. 

In a Parliament session last year, an MP had sneaked into the Lok Sabha with pepper spray and used it inside the House as a mark of protest on creation of Telangana issue. This had sparked a demand that MPs should also be subjected to some kind of frisking to avoid such embarrassments.

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