Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Cops up the ante over risk allowance

;Rajib Chatterjee
KOLKATA, 8 JUNE: State policemen, including those posted in the Maoist-infested districts, have upped the ante against the state government after repeated appeals to provide them with risk allowance have fallen on deaf ears.
It may be recalled that a delegation of the West Bengal Police Association (WBPA) in December last year had submitted a memorandum to the state government asking for risk allowance for state policemen of the ranks of constable to deputy superintendent of police, at the rate of 15 per cent of their basic pay. It was further requested that policemen of these same ranks posted in Maoist-infested districts would get risk allowance at 20 per cent of their basic pay. The proposal was placed as the association felt that the degree of risk involved in tackling crimes in the state had increased in recent times. Mr Bijitaswa Routh, general secretary the WBPA, pointed out that all members of the security forces that come under the direct supervision of the Centre already get risk allowance at the rate of 15 per cent of their basic pay. “The Centre has been providing risk allowance, accepting the recommendation made by the sixth pay commission. Now we have submitted a memorandum to the fifth pay commission seeking risk allowance for the state policemen.”
Mr Raj Kanojia, IG (law and order), said: “We have sent a proposal to the state home department in this regard, but we have not received any response so far.” More than 2,000 policemen are posted in Maoist-infested blocks in Midnapore West, Bankura and Purulia districts. This apart, several members of the Specially Trained Army Company (STRACO) ~ a specialised wing of the State Armed Police (SAP) ~ were also posted in these three districts to tackle the Maoist menace. The members of the special squad were trained by officers of the Indian Army before they were sent to the districts.
With the state government yet to provide risk allowance to them, several STRACO members reportedly raised their grievances with superior officers following a spate of Maoist attacks near their camps.
Speaking to The Statesman on condition of anonymity, a STRACO member posted at a camp near Belpahari in Midnapore West said: “During our posting, we were told by our superiors that the state government would provide risk allowance to us for working in Maoist-infested areas. But the promise was not kept. We have requested our superiors to increase pressure on the state government on this issue. No-one will join STRACO in the future if the state government refuses to provide risk allowance

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