NIA officers using taxis due to austerity drive

Sleuths of NIA are facing an unusual problem of mobility as they are "forced" to depend on taxis since the investigating agency has been unable to purchase vehicles due to an austerity drive.

The chief of National Investigation Agency (NIA) told a Parliamentary panel that it created three branches in Bhopal, Patna and Kolkata in 2012 but due to government's austerity measures, they have not been sanctioned any vehicle.

"This is forcing their officers to use taxis for movement and because of that mobility is a big a problem," the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs was told.

Express its displeasure, the panel said the NIA, entrusted with responsibilities to investigate and prosecute offences affecting the sovereignty, security and integrity of India, is working without required manpower and essential facilities like vehicles and the agency officers are forced to perform their duties using private taxis.

The Committee, therefore, strongly recommended that all the vacancies in NIA must be filled up at the earliest and the agency should be provided with all needed infrastructural and logistic support like vehicles.

"The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Finance should come forward with positive attitude and provide requisite fund for the three proposed regional offices of the NIA," it said.

The Parliamentary panel also expressed deep displeasure over the dilly-dallying attitude of the government regarding creation of infrastructure for NATGRID, a first-of-the-kind project that will link various databases between intelligence agencies and service providers like telecom companies to enhance counter-terrorism capabilities.

The committee said the very proposal of setting up of NATGRID is still at nascent stage even after a lapse of two years and it understands that delay in construction of data centre building of NATGRID would create hurdles in accomplishing the set objective of the organisation. "The delay is unacceptable and the project should pick up pace," it said.

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