MSSC may get discarded Mumbai Police weapons

Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC), counterpart of Central Industrial Security Force, is planning to arm its personnel with .303 rifles and .410 muskets Mumbai Police want to get rid of. MSSC has already approached DGP and the home department, Newsline has learnt.

"We will provide armed guards to those seeking security. The plan is to arm these personnel with .303 rifles and .410 muskets no longer being used by Mumbai Police," said an MSSC official.

"These weapons are not the first choice of Mumbai Police, but they are sufficient for basic guarding purposes. Even guards at banks carry such rifles. The purpose is to deter robberies and break-ins."

Police had asked government if these rifles could be sawed and modified into double-barrel shotguns. Other alternative being contemplated is giving the rifles to NCC.

MSSC was formed on April 19, 2010, following a statute state legislature passed. The mandate of Centre-state joint initiative is to cater to the security needs of government offices, corporations, vital installations, public sector undertakings, local bodies, banks, financial, religious and educational institutions, hospitals, infrastructure projects, malls and multiplexes, etc.

MSSC guards have been given status of public servants under IPC section 21. They are also special police officers under section 17 of MSSC Act.

Unlike private security guards, ones provided by MSSC have the power to arrest without warrant. MSSC also has the advantage of credible intelligence inputs from state police regarding possible threats to installations. Several top state police officers are part of its board of directors.

MSSC guards are provided training for seven weeks at facilities in Goregaon and Panvel. Eight days are dedicated to weapons training. MSSC has a sanctioned strength of 45,000 security guards, 21,000 armed security guards and 18,000 chief security guards.

It has posted 227 guards at octroi booths of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, 20 at IIT Powai, 10 at a water filtration plant in Bhandup, 44 at the Wadala Customs office and 39 at Mahalaxmi Temple. MSSC also guards Khaparkheda Thermal Power Plant in Nagpur district, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Uran, Film City in Goregaon, Bombay Stock Exchange, Securities and Exchange Board of India.

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