CRPF men need rest, optimal duty hours: Panel

Forces have to work overtime without any compensation

CRPF personnel patrol at Maoist affected area near village Sayu, in Latehar, on Dec. 5, 2018. PTI

CRPF personnel are deployed for the toughest internal security assignments among paramilitary forces but they have to work overtime every day without any compensation. And every time, 80% of the personnel are forced to sacrifice their weekly offs.

This has prompted the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs to remind the Ministry of Home (MHA) and CRPF bosses to ensure that their boys get the much-needed rest.

"On an average, CRPF personnel have to work for 12-14 hours a day without any compensation for working beyond the standard limit of eight hours. More than 80% of CRPF personnel cannot avail holidays and Sundays," said a note to the MHA by the Standing Committee headed by former home minister P Chidambaram.

The panel was "dismayed" at this workload and reminded the MHA and CRPF that working 12-14 hours with no scope for holidays and Sundays would bring in "psychological and physical" consequences on the personnel and would affect their work.

While acknowledging that the job of an armed force personnel is such that they have to be alert "24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year", the panel cited that the working hours regulation under Indian Labour Law was 48 hours per week.

"While of course, the armed forces are exempted from this directive, it does indicate that their working hours are neither healthy nor sustainable in the long term," it said.

The panel recommended that the MHA should work out some mechanism to provide the much-needed rest and optimal duty hours for the personnel.

On workload, it said there has been a constant increase in demand for CRPF deployment in states, which are overdependent on it.

"No CRPF battalion is presently designated for the purpose of providing rest and recuperation. Moreover, almost 98% of training companies remain deployed on various short-term law and order assignments across the country. This continuous deployment of training companies affects the overall operational efficiency of the force, besides denying troops the much-wanted training and rest and recuperation," it said.

It recommended that one-sixth of a battalion should be, at any given time, mandatory training or rest or in peace stations.

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