To improve the working conditions and operational efficiency of forces guarding the Sino-Indian border in the higher reaches of the Himalayas, the government is likely to sanction rebuilding of 40 border outposts (BoP) into state-of-the-art composite structures with central heating systems and running water.
With an expected cost of Rs 480 crore, these 40 BoPs for the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) will come up along the high-altitude border in the Ladakh region where temperatures at times hit as low as minus 40 degree Celsius. In sub-freezing temperatures at over 10,000 feet, heating systems and running water make the major requirements for jawans posted in the inhospitable terrain.
To ensure this, the force will be using indigenous technology — vetted by IIT Delhi and Roorkee — which would use solar energy for heating and draw ground water into the heated environment of the BoP to keep it running. Sources said the home ministry has in principle agreed to sanction the project. Notably, Home Minister Rajnath Singh only last week visited border areas of Ladakh and even spent a night with ITBP jawans at the Dungti BoP.
“The home minister had first hand experience of the problems faced by jawans at such high altitude. He was very receptive to the demands of the force. We have sent a proposal for 40 composite BoPs which the home minister has agreed in principle to sanction,” ITBP DG Krishna Chaudhary said.
Unlike the current BoPs, a “composite” BoP has all infrastructure and facilities at one place with barracks, mess, toilets, medical facilities, vet infrastructure, vehicle sheds, armoury etc under one single roof.
“The idea is that when the jawan comes back from a hard day’s duty he gets hot, well-cooked meals, is warm, sleeps well and doesn’t have to worry about boiling water before going to the toilet,” said an ITBP official.