After questions were raised over CRPF personnel who were killed in Pulwama terror strike were not airlifted, the government on Thursday allowed paramilitary personnel to fly in and out of Srinagar on commercial airlines to join duty or while going on leave.
This will benefit 7.80 lakh personnel of the paramilitary forces in the ranks of Constable, Head Constable and ASI who were otherwise not eligible earlier. The order came into effect with immediate effect.
Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the movement of convoys by road for logistical and operational reasons "has been and will continue to be necessary" and it was also the case with Army.
"In a significant decision, the MHA has approved the entitlement of air travel on Delhi-Srinagar, Srinagar-Delhi, Jammu-Srinagar and Srinagar-Jammu sectors to all the personnel of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces...This includes journey on duty and journey on leave, i.e; while going on leave from Jammu and Kashmir to home and return," an official statement said.
This facility is in addition to the existing air courier services for CAPFs that have been steadily extended in all sectors by the MHA to help the jawans cut down on travel time during their journey to and fro from home on leave.
Fourty CRPF personnel were killed on February 14 when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into the bus they were travelling in from Jammu to Srinagar. The personnel were moving a convoy and questions were raised why they were travelling in a bus and why not they were airlifted.
In Jammu and Kashmir Sector, the statement said, it may be recalled that Air Courier Service for paramilitary personnel was approved for the Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu sector. Subsequently, the Service was extended to cover Delhi-Jammu, Jammu-Srinagar, Srinagar-Jammu and Jammu-Delhi sector in December 2017. The number of flights were further extended in December 2018.
In addition, air support is provided from IAF as and when required, the statement added.