With increasing attrition in paramilitary ranks due to stressful working conditions, the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has decided to build holiday homes for its jawans. This is the first such initiative by any paramilitary force as such facilities are reserved for officers.
ITBP DG Krishna Chaudhary Friday laid the foundation stone of the first such facility in Mussoorie. ITBP sources said that in the next few years, such facilities will come up in Shimla, Almora, Joshimath, Chittor, Madurai, Sarhan, Gangtok and some hill stations. These facilities will have the capacity to cater to four families at each station and every accommodation will have a bedroom, a kitchen and a washroom.
“All officers have mess accommodation at all our stations, while our jawans and havaldars have no such facility. They live in barracks. In one of my recent visits to a forward post, when I asked jawans if they took their families to hill stations during holidays, they said they couldn’t afford it. That’s when I thought such a facility should be extended to everyone in the force and not just to officers,” Chaudhary told The Indian Express.
Sources said once these facilities come up, jawans will be able to stay there with their families for as low as Rs 200 a night.
“We hope this initiative will provide some relief to our jawans, who are at the forefront of all our actions in the most difficult of terrain and weather. This is among the many initiatives we have taken for the welfare of the lowest rung of our force,” Chaudhary said.
The force has also been working on a ‘just leave’ policy for jawans so that everyone gets a breather from tough duties and is able to attend to family needs, social commitments and recreation. The force has also demanded from the Home Ministry more men so that reserve battalions can be created and rotation between tough and easy postings is can be facilitated. At present, the force is on almost 100 per cent deployment.
Guarding the Sino-Indian border, ITBP works in inhospitable conditions in the high reaches of Himalayas with some of their posts at heights of over 18,000 feet in Ladakh. With no roads in the Arunachal sector, they have to deal with hostile forests and mountainous terrain while conducting long-range patrolling, which can at times take over 20 days to complete.
Last year, the force had got the Home Ministry to sanction money to put up centrally heated border outposts in the higher reaches of the Himalayas.