M'rashtra seeks Central funds to effectively police Mumbai

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New Delhi, Dec 20 (UNI) Having suffered the country's worst terrorist assaults in 1993 and 2006 in which more than 450 people were killed and another 1,500 wounded in serial bomb blasts, Mumbai is still awaiting Central funds to strengthen internal security system in the nation's financial and entertainment capital.

"Our proposal for sanction of Rs 145 crore (under the mega city policing funding)is still pending," Maharasthra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told the conference of chief ministers on internal security here today.

He regretted that after the Prime Minister introduced the concept of mega policing funding, the Centre is now insisting its funding out of modernisation funds. But he lamented that modernisation funds are inadequate even to take care of fast increasing requirements of the state which faces major challange to internal security from terrorist outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba(Let), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and naxalites in Vidarbha region.

Maharasthra, spread over three lakh square kilometres with a population of about 12 crore, is manned by a two-lakh strong police force with annual budget of nearly Rs 3,000 crore. The state, with a coast line of 720 kms, hosts many important and strategic installations such as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, National Defence Academy, MiG aircraft factory besides several other defence and research installations.

Claiming that original allocation of Rs 184 crore to Maharashtra under the modernisation funds has been declining every year, Mr Deshmukh sought release of the funds by May every year so that they could utilise them in time. He also wanted the Centre to include Pune region under the mega city project, saying the fast developing metropolis will soon require policing at par with Mumbai.

The Chief Minister said though the state has been free of any terror incident in 2007, yet threat exists as indicated by latest intelligence inputs, adding public transport system and religious shrines appear to be on the hit of terrorists.

More than six million travel on Mumbai's suburban railway system every day. Sidhi Vinayak temple and Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai city and Shirdi and Pandharpur temples elsewhere in the state are famous religious places.

Mr Deshmukh said "although SIMI is banned, they continue to operate under different names." LeT, along with SIMI, were allegedly involved in the July 2006 serial bomb blasts on Mumbai's suburban trains in which nearly 200 people lost their lives and 800 were wounded.

Maharashtra was the first state in the country to legislate its own anti-terror law -Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (Mcoca)- and the accused of the July 2006 blasts are being tried under this Act.

UNI

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