Apathy mars ANF camps

The government has eventually released Rs 9 crore to revamp as many as 13 Anti Naxal Force camps across the state. However, a glance at most of the ANF camps gives the inkling that the work is yet to commence and the ANF personnel continue to wait for better living conditions.

The ANF force that was set up in 2008 covering the areas of Dakshina Kannada, Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Udupi, Kodagu, Mysore and Tumkur coming under Western Ghats which are prone to Maoists menace, was strengthened in due course of time.

ANF shares the internal division with CSP (coastal security police) and CCT (center for counter terrorism). The 13 ANF camps are set up in all these seven Maoists affected districts of the State. They are evenly distributed in three divisions, that is Malnad junction, tri-junction and the junction bordering the Tumkur and Andhra Pradesh.

The positions of these camps keep changing as per the requirement as against the idea of permanent settlement. The number might increase and decrease as per the requirement. 

According to sources, the living conditions of the ANF personnel is pitiable, as they are staying in the midst of the dense forest in a minuscule shelters which is no different from tribal huts and lacks appropriate basic amenities. The camps also lack the minimum condition that is applicable for a decent dwelling, it is said. 

Most of the structures are in dilapidated condition and most of the camps do not have the secured roofs. The water facilities in many camps are scarce and the personnel are made to go to distant areas to fetch a pot of water.

The toilets are also missing in some of the camps and the personnel are left with no option, but to go for open defecation. It is pitiful that as the camps are set up in the midst of the dense forest of Western Ghats, the natural problems like pests and bugs are common companion of these personnel. 

It is also said that the other major problem of ANF is the shortage of personnel as majority are not willing to work under ANF. In contrast, the Andhra Pradesh has wonderful squad aptly called as Greyhounds to tackle the Maoist menace in the affected areas. The commandos who are recruited in the force are paid 50 per cent extra wages and rewards with all necessary basic infrastructural packages.

When contacted, the sources on condition of anonymity told Deccan Herald that the allowances and basic pay is very low. Rewards and compensation cannot be expected. However, recently the monthly rest has been sanctioned based on rotation.

Meanwhile, when contacted, ANF DIG Seemanth Kumar Singh said that the renovation programme is an ongoing programme and shortly the personnel will be assured of all facilities that are required for the decent livelihood in the process of their hardship. He added that there is no shortage of personnel as such at present and there are around 550 personnel working in various capacities in the force, he said.

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