The security department of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) came into existence in 1982 during Asian Games. It was assigned with the task to ensure the security of stadia owned by the civic body with the help of approximately 300 security guards and other supervisory staff provided by a private Security Agency.
After the successful closing of the games, it earned a lot of accolades from the press and senior government officials for its security arrangements. In recognition of its services, the department’s jurisdiction was extended to other installations. Today, the NDMC has a dedicated security force headed by a chief security officer.
Anjali Bhatia spoke to Chief Security Officer Kuldeep Singh Lohan to know more about this little-known yet vital security organisation in the National Capital. Following are the excerpts:
What are the challenges you face while providing security to NDMC installations?
Our job is to maintain the security of NDMC infrastructure and the people working. People from all sections of the society from across the country come to Delhi and work here. NDMC areas are the prime location in the National Capital. VIPs and VVIPs also live here. There have been terrorist attacks including bomb blasts and pilferage in the past. We have not only taken steps to meet the threat but also preempted the mishaps.
What prompted the government to set up your unit?
Well, NDMC is a big organisation with many buildings, offices, hospitals, schools, parks, gardens, shops, etc. in its possession. These infrastructures are vulnerable to attacks as they are all located in the heart of Delhi. Hence, all these establishments require a security cover. Considering the vulnerability of these buildings which could turn out to be soft targets for antisocial elements and the value of the NDMC assets, a full-fledged dedicated security unit was called for.
Could you tell us about the strength of your force?
We have around 1,200 trained security personnel in our force. Our force is as good as any other security force in the country. It is committed, dedicated, and highly motivated.
What exactly is your mandate?
Our mandate is to ensure the security of the entire NDMC area. It may be assets or people, they are all under our watch. Our job is to make everyone working or using these premises safe and secure. They must feel that they are in a secure environment, the children, the women everybody should be secure in the area we provide security. We have state-of-the-art equipment to keep a round-the-clock vigil. It instills confidence amongst the people. We are a professional force which means business.
What role does training play in your given tasks?
Training plays a very important role in any security service. Be it a paramilitary force or an army or police or even a private security guard, all need training. It is the most important aspect of our force too. The objective of every security force, be it paramilitary, armed forces, or the police, is to maintain vigil to thwart any attack, for this they need to be at the top of physical and mental health and must be trained to use the gadgets and the firearms.
What do you think would be the requirement to meet the challenging times?
Technology plays a very important role for every security establishment because in today’s world manpower in itself is not complete. It has to be complemented by technical support. To keep high vigil, we need more and more gadgets like security cameras, scanners, door frame metal detectors, etc. We have to keep upgrading to be up-to-date security machinery.
What efforts are made by you to keep the force motivated?
We conduct regular lectures to motivate our force. We are conducting trainee classes and regular interaction between the supervisory staff and the ground-level staff like the guards. It is to instill confidence among them that someone is there to guide them and to take care of their needs in case of any problem that they face while discharging their duties.
How is your task vis à vis army or other paramilitary forces?
Army units are very secure because they have a very restricted entry. They have controlled access to their establishments. Nobody can enter there without legitimate purpose and authorisation. But in places like public dealing, everybody is free to come and express their grievances. Many unscrupulous elements take advantage of this fact and try to create mischief.