Restore people’s faith in law and order, PM tells Chavan


New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmmohan Singh Friday asked Maharashtra’s new chief minister Ashok Chavan to immediately take all steps to restore the people’s faith in the law and order machinery in the wake of the terror attacks in Mumbai that left over 170 people dead.

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Chavan, who called on the prime minister along with his deputy Chhagan Bhujbal, was reportedly told that these measures should be taken on a war footing. He was assured that there would be speedy clearance of all central assistance.

Manmohan Singh said Mumbai was the country’s financial hub and 45 percent of the country’s total industrial production came from Maharashtra, “Therefore, it is all the more important that the people’s confidence is restored quickly,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

A day earlier, the prime minister had in parliament apologised to people for not being able to prevent the terror act and unveiled a series of measures to strengthen the intelligence machinery as well as coastal and hinterland security.

According to PMO officials, Chavan informed the prime minister of the several steps already underway to shore up the state’s security, including the setting up of a state security council on the lines of the National Security Council, training of personnel and ushering in much-awaited police reforms which a Group of Ministers under Chavan would oversee.

With the Mumbai attacks highlighting the need for response with much greater speed and the vulnerable coast line needing to be secured, Chavan said efforts were already on to strengthen the Coast Guard with additional speed boats and state-of-the-art weapons.

Other development issues which are the priority of the state government and were discussed with the p0rime minister included the Mumbai Metro, a new Mumbai airport, cleaning of the Mithi river flowing through the city and coal supply to power plants.

Chavan, son of the late former home minister S.B. Chavan,, took over Dec 8 after Vilasrao Deshmukh stepped down in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.