PATNA: The Bihar police will operate a fleet of 11 modern bulletproof SUVs for VIP security within a month. Two of these will be used only by chief minister (CM) Nitish Kumar. At present, the government has a fleet of 25 bulletproof Ambassador cars out of which only six are in running condition as their maintenance is difficult due to non-availability of proper spare parts.
Of the Rs 6 crore to be spent on the 11 vehicles, the government has sanctioned Rs 2.14 crore for purchase of five Toyota Fortuners which are likely to be delivered within a fortnight. The fleet will also consist of six Tata Safaris, of which two were delivered ten days ago and the remaining will be delivered soon.
“While one of the Tata Safaris will be sent to the Bihar Bhavan in New Delhi and permanently stationed there for use by the CM during his visits, another SUV will be meant for his movement within the state. Rest of the vehicles will be kept on standby for use by other VIPs visiting the state,” IG (provision) Pankaj Kumar Darad said on Wednesday, adding there was no immediate plan to increase the fleet size further.
After being transformed into bulletproof vehicles, the price of each Safari will be Rs 50 lakh and that of a Fortuner will be around Rs 61 lakh. Each of them will weigh 1.5 tonnes. “The ballistic test of the SUVs were conducted successfully at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) at Chandigarh three months ago,” said a source.