NEW DELHI, Aug 26: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) took over the security of the Statue of Unity in Gujarat's Narmada district with the induction of over 270 armed personnel.
A formal induction ceremony was conducted at the site of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's statue in Sadhu-Bet islet of Narmada river at the Sardar Sarovar Dam front in Kevadia, officials said.
Narmada District collector M R Kothari and other senior officials of the state government and the CISF were present at the induction ceremony during which a ceremonial key of the facility was handed over to the force, they said.
The CISF contingent will provide an armed cover to the facility that is spread across 23 acres with seven operational gates and an emergency exit, an officer of the force said.
"Due to the importance and prominence of the Statue of Unity it is under constant threat from anti-social elements and the sculpture is susceptible to damage including through terrorist activities."
"The force will provide round-the-clock armed security cover to the Statue of Unity," a CISF spokesperson said.
A good number of tourists visits the facility and the CISF squad will control the entry and exit, carry out frisking of visitors in special cases and also check their bags.
Armed with assault rifles like the AK series and the INSAS, the personnel will also carry out anti-sabotage checks at the facility and will have a quick reaction team (QRT) to respond to any emergency or terrorist attack.
The 182-meters tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the country's first home minister, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October, 2018.
The world's tallest statue is named the Statue of Unity in tribute to Sardar Patel's contribution in bringing together hundreds of politically fragmented states to make a united India post-Independence.
While the Union home ministry has sanctioned a strength of 352 CISF personnel led by a Deputy Commandant-rank officer to guard the facility, 272 of them have taken position on Tuesday, the spokesperson said.
The rest of the contingent will also be in position soon, another officer said.
The paramilitary force guards vital and sensitive installations in the country including those in the nuclear and aerospace domain. - PTI