Long Way to Go

Dilip Trivedi looks back at his eventful tenure as director general, CRPF

Dilip Kumar Mekala

For a paramilitary force, which is at war with left wing extremists on a daily basis, the chances of disappointments outnumbering the achievements are usually high. But when the director general of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Dilip Trivedi, addressed the media on November 12, he was determined to prove otherwise. The press conference was a prelude to the Raising Day parade which was to take place the day after, and it was particularly significant for Trivedi, who retired end of November.

Dilip Trivedi looks back at his eventful tenure as director general, CRPF

Trivedi’s tenure had been a rocky one. His idea of ‘reorganisation and transfer policy’ for the CRPF had been given a cold shoulder by the ministry of home affairs (MHA), and he also received a lot of flak from within the organisation for making such a move without having a broad consensus. However, that did not stop Trivedi from discussing his plans in detail during the press conference. “There are two issues we are planning to address with this - reorganisation and transfer policy,” he said. “First, the policy will bring senior level officers of DIG and IG ranks closer to operational areas. And second, the CRPF is the only organisation which has a dual control; the operations and administration are handled by two people. We thought we will bring these two roles under one person”.

The core reason behind such a policy, according to Trivedi, was the nature of deployment present in the CRPF currently. Unlike other paramilitary and state police forces, which have deployment as per the battalion with a firm base at a particular location, the CRPF operates from group centres. These take care of administrative work for five battalions. There is no provision like a battalion headquarters. Since the CRPF troops keep moving, the reorganisation policy would, according to Trivedi, bring the necessary solutions. “For various reasons it was under deliberation in the ministry. And last week, yet another committee has been formed. Let’s see what comes out of it,” he added.

The MHA had so far constituted two committees headed by former directors general, Vijay Kumar and A.S. Gill in a move to make the CRPF more efficient in its counter-insurgency operations. The committees are supposed to give their reports within 60 days, Reacting to such a move, Trivedi was quoted in India Today magazine as saying, “I frankly do not see the need for this. Administrative action at the level of DG would have sufficed”.

While the plans to reorganise the force didn’t see the light of the day during his tenure, there are many other achievements that he would certainly like to claim the credit for. A few examples: “We have improved the living conditions of the men”; “Martyr status was given to personnel who lose their lives during posting”; “Compensation was increased to those who die in the course of the duty” and so on and so forth.

However, the DG did not have any concrete solutions for the stagnation in the force and the bad promotional pattern among the officers. When asked what he thinks of these issues, he acknowledged that it was a “big problem”, but fell short on suggesting any measures to address them.

DG CRPF claimed that his force did not get ample coverage in the media during the Jammu and Kashmir floods. The reason, he cited, was that they were carrying out relief work in the interiors where the journalists were not present. However, in the press meet, he decided to appreciate the efforts of his troops during the floods.

Elections in Jammu and Kashmir, and also in Jharkhand, were also discussed. “The CRPF is the nodal agency for the parliamentary and assembly elections… we are prepared for the worst case scenario. We have trained and equipped our troops accordingly,” informed Trivedi.

While there was considerable satisfaction in election duties, the LWE operations of the CRPF still face enormous challenges. While the troops employ modern equipment like X-95, Assault rifles, the INSAS, on the other hand, seems to be operationally a liability. Apparently, the INSAS takes longer time between two rounds of firing, which becomes a huge issue while utilising it in ambush operations. “We have requested the government to replace INSAS with X-95 or Assault weapons,” said Trivedi.

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