Saturday, March 21, 2009

CRPF faces acute shortage of communication experts

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, March 22, 2009
First Published: 10:40 IST(22/3/2009)
Last Updated: 10:43 IST(22/3/2009)

Saddled with the task of maintaining internal security, CRPF faces acute shortage of communication units, resulting in over-stretching of existing communication experts within it.

The force had recently sent a proposal to the Union Home Ministry seeking additional communication experts but it has been shot down.

The force, which at present has five Signal Battalions, is stretching the duty limit of its communication experts by nearly four times to cater to the communication needs, official sources said.

Ideally each Signal Battalion (1,150 personnel) is supposed to work with 10-12 other battalions (about 12,500 personnel).

"At present, each of the Signal Battalion is catering to nearly 40 other fighting battalions. This has led to lot of operational difficulty as the personnel are being stretched. Maintaining communication system is becoming a problem," the sources said.

They said the force had recently sent a proposal to the Home Ministry seeking nod to raise five additional Signal Battalions in view of the shortage. CRPF had also asked permission for immediate recruitment of nearly 2,000 technicians and experts till the time the new battalions are raised.

"There is dire need of communication personnel but the proposal to enhance the staff has been rejected by the Home Ministry," the sources said.

At present, Signal Battalions, which look after the communication of the force besides repair of communication sets used by the CRPF personnel, are headquartered each at Kolkata, New Delhi, Nimach (Madhya Pradesh), Hyderabad and Chandigarh.

The battalion posted in Kolkata looks after the communication needs of the CRPF personnel in the Northeastern states, which are prone to insurgency. The other battalions also work as regional hubs.

"While the fighting force has been growing, the personnel who are supposed to look after the communication, which is a crucial element of any operation, remains the same," the sources said.

Last year, the CRPF was given the go ahead to raise 10 battalion-strong Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) to fight the Naxal menace.

To counter the communication problem, the force had created a special unit in each of the COBRA battalion to act as signal men.

No comments: