‘80% of our deployment is in operational theatres. It does cause a lot of stress in the sense that he (the soldier) works away from the family in hostile environment’
You spoke about the strength of the CRPF in terms of the number of battalions during the press conference on 78th anniversary. Are more raisings in the pipeline?
At present, we have 24,000 recruits, who are undergoing training. They would be passing out around April and, therefore, would add to the force. We are also converting five battalions to RAF battalions, and the process for which is already on. By about January or February, these battalions will be available to us.
In keeping with these increasing numbers, are Group Centres going to increase too?
We have plans for two Group Centres, but we are also looking at other forms of deployment. For example, Parliament Duty Group, which has been recently sanctioned, does not work under Group Centre concept. Also, our VIP security unit also does not work under Group Centre concept. Group Centres are basically used more for provisioning, administration and record keeping, while we have our operational battalions for the operational part. And for the supervision of the operational effort, we have a separate system of DIG and IG Operations. So, it depends on the kind of theatre we are working in and the type of tasking we have.
We are also creating one Bastaria battalion in which we have taken both females and males from the Bastar region. They are undergoing training and will be available for deployment by April. They would be used specifically in their own theatre because they would know the local language and the context. Therefore, there are different efforts going on as per the requirements of each of the operating theatres.
Taking Jammu and Kashmir first, what is the ratio of troops on static duty and those involved in CI/CT operations? In addition to joint operations with police, SOG and RR, does the CRPF also carry out independent operations?
There is practically very little strength on static duties. We have got one recruit training centre there, which is a static formation where we train recruits. Apart from this, all our formations there are basically operational formations.
In Jammu and Kashmir, we are operating in a grid. We are co-located with the state police and its SOG units. We operate mostly with them and RR, which is also in the grid, in a very close coordination, which actually is the strength of the operations. Then, we also have to deal with the components of law and order issues, like stone pelting and other problems that may arise. So, we work as a team looking at the problems that we need to overcome there.
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