'All BSF posts to get basic amenities for jawans this fiscal'

'All BSF posts to get basic amenities for jawans this fiscal'

Border Security Force, which guards India's frontiers with Pakistan and Bangladesh, is set to accomplish one of its most ambitious and difficult plans by the end of this financial year —— equipping all its border posts with basic amenities for its troops.

The BSF posts, located in some of the most inhospitable terrain and far-flung areas covering deserts, marshy territory and dense jungles along the country's western and eastern flanks, will by next month have three basic facilities for its men —— barracks, cooking houses and toilets.

The plan to upgrade the border infrastructure was adopted last year by the force after 2013 was declared as the 'Year of the Jawan' for BSF.

"My idea was slightly different when we announced 2013 as the year of the jawan."We wanted to change the attitude towards the welfare of these ranks of members of our family who constitute 80 per cent of the force's strength.

"By this March, we will be able to ensure three basic amenities at all our border posts —— jawan barracks, toilets and cook houses," BSF Director General Subhash Joshi told PTI.

Joshi, who had announced 2013 as the 'Year of the Jawan' in the 2.5-lakh strong force, said the barracks in border areas were also being upgraded as a number of them have in a "dilapidated state" for quite some time.

The major share of capital funds of the paramilitary force is being spent on "works related to jawans", he added.

A border guard, on an average, spends close to six months at one stretch at a forward location, a senior official said, adding that it was thus absolutely essential that these posts are made self-sufficient as regards the troops' housing.

Border posts for the paramilitary differ from one place to another; while there are 10-12 personnel at some of them, there are larger contingents of more than 30 jawans at other locations.

As per troop welfare plans, BSF has created 373 troopers' guesthouses, called 'prahari athithi griha', in the border areas where jawans posted at borders may host their families once a year for about a fortnight.

Joshi, who will demit office later this month after superannuating from service, said the force is also upgrading its equipment by procuring more bullet-proof jackets, armoured vehicles and sophisticated surveillance gear like aerostats and long-range reconnaissance gadgets.

Apart from guarding the borders, BSF has also been deployed in anti-Naxal operations and also discharges a variety of internal security duties.

It has also been recently tasked with guarding the Indo- Myanmar border, which is currently the responsibility of another paramilitary force, Assam Rifles. 

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