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Thursday, 12 May 2016

Nuclear shelter, jammers being considered to secure Parliament

Construction of an underground ‘nuclear shelter’ and technological upgrade to ward off possible chemical, radiological or biological attacks are among the security upgrade plans for the Parliament House building that have been set in motion by the NDA government. The installation of jammers to prevent possible ‘drone attacks’ and procurement of state-of-the-art communications and anti-insurgency equipment constitute part of plans to secure the 89-year-old building from potential ground or aerial attacks. Procurement of chemical-resistant equipment and gas masks is also being planned. “With drones getting smaller and technologically advanced, there is always scope for improvement in the aerial security of the building,” security sources said. A host of measures were taken to make the building impregnable after the 2001 attack but in the constantly evolving scenario, the threat perception has changed, they added. Following recommendations of a Parliament security committee constituted last year by speaker Sumitra Mahajan, a fresh security template involving multiple agencies, including the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), has been worked out. While the speaker has agreed with broad suggestions made by the committee, she has initiated the process of setting up a fresh committee comprising MPs belonging to both houses of the Parliament to oversee the specifics of the security upgrade plans, sources said. Based on the outcome of a pilot project recently completed by the agencies, a presentation is scheduled to be made this month before the Lok Sabha speaker. Citing reasons of confidentiality, BJP Lok Sabha member RK Singh, who headed the three-member committee, refused to comment on the matter.

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