Srinagar, April 18 : Following peace initiatives between India and Pakistan, there is now a favourable environment for doing business in the Kashmir Valley.
New business establishments are mushrooming rapidly, and this has proved to be a blessing for private security agencies.
People here are happy to know about fresh employment opportunities. There is a surge in growth of financial institutions, offices, hospitals, hotels, guesthouses and restaurants across the Valley. Since people are still needed for purposes of security, private security agencies are in high demand.
At the height of the insurgency in the valley, most were hesitant about setting up a security agency. Today, in the changing environment, such is not the case.
The need for security persons has been further accentuated by a new Reserve Bank of India norm.
"The Reserve Bank of India has come out with a new norm that says that all private banks and companies have to arrange for their own security. The State cannot spare so many security personnel for every bank. The Reserve Bank's norm of outsourcing security men has advantages in that it saves the bank's money and the state government has spare manpower that it can use if there is an emergency situation like riots, so they don't have to worry about that," said Sarfaraz Ahmad Malik, the General Manager of A. P. Securitas.
Some of the services provided by these private agencies include ATM security, protection for cash in transit, fire services, security systems and management support services.
Ex-servicemen have set up most of these agencies, which facilitate the elderly and ex-servicemen to get the job.
Employees at these security agencies undergo a training course for a fortnight, free of cost. In this training, they are briefed about the rules and regulations and trained in the use of firearms to be used during their hours of duty.
" We instruct them about the use of 12 bore double flintlock rifles and train them to use fire extinguishers. We also instruct them in using various weapons and in firefighting and ask them to stick to their duty schedule. We also make it clear that their duty in civilian places will be vastly different from that in the army and how they have to behave differently with the civilians," said Rafiq Ahmad, a trainer.
The private security agencies claim that they provide their services at much lower price than the government agencies do.
A.P.Securitas (P) Ltd. is one of the leading private agencies in the State. It was established four years ago and today employs 150 people in various branches across the valley.
It employs freshers and ex-servicemen. The latter is given preference due to experience.