In a State where there are just about 100 policemen available for protecting a lakh population, the Government spends close to Rs 5 lakh a year on providing protection to a single VIP.
A latest assessment reveals that the State Government has deployed close to 400 police personnel to protect 214 VIPs which include ministers, MPs, MLAs and others who are covered under the security for either being vulnerable or high profile.
In the wake of the Delhi gang-rape incident, the Supreme Court had recently sought details of expenditure the States incur on VIP security.
Sources said the State Government spends close to Rs 10.50 cr on protection of people who are political, non-political, VIPs and non-VIPs. Then there are those who are protected basing on court orders.
The expenditure is calculated mostly basing on the salary of policemen engaged in the security duty. Other expenses of logistics are not included since there are different layers of security provided to the high and mighty.
For example, the Security Wing of the State Police provides protection basing on the recommendation of the State Level Security Committee comprising the Home Secretary, Director-General of Police, Director (Intelligence), Police Commissioner and a representative of the Intelligence Bureau.
Then there is the protection that is accorded to the VIPs when they are in different districts. For Ministers, MPs and MLAs, the security is arranged by the SP when they are in their home districts.
Getting a clear picture of the exact expenditure is difficult since so many agencies within the police force are engaged and there are too many heads too, the sources added. In Left Wing Extremist (LWE)-affected districts, the definition of security changes for the VIPs such as the Chief Minister, his colleagues and MPs as well as MLAs since there is a set of guidelines which need to be adhered to.
‘’However, the security cover to the VIPs in Odisha just cannot match what others States such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh do. Our expenditure is probably one-tenth of some of these high profile States because even a minister enjoys multiple number of personal security officers (PSOs) and pilot protection,’’ the sources added.
In Odisha, just the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court are entitled to pilot protection. For the rest, it is totally need-based. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is the most protected. When he is on the move, his security is the responsibility of the SP (Security). The protection for his residence is assigned to the Commissionerate Police, which has deployed two platoons of Special Security Battalion (SSB).