Nearly 48 per cent of the Uttar Pradesh police personnel are still using the point-303 bore rifles, declared “obsolete” nearly 20 years ago. The paradox was pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in its report for the year ending on March 31, 2016.
“Point-303 bore rifles had been declared obsolete more than 20 years ago in February 1995 but about 48 per cent of the police force in the state are still using it,” it said. The report titled Performance Audit of Modernistation and Strengthening of Police Forces, states, “As per the 1995 instructions of the MHA, the point-303 rifles had become obsolete by 1995 itself and required replacement by modern weapons.”
The report was recently tabled in the Uttar Pradesh assembly. The government’s auditor said out of 1.22 lakh rifles available with the UP police as on March 2016, 58,853 rifles were of point-303 category.
Despite rifles being a very important police weapon, about 48 per cent of the force in the state was still using point-303 bore rifle. “The UP government accepted it (in February 2017) and stated that point-303 rifles are being replaced by Insas rifles, and this process will be completed in five years,” the CAG report said.
The CAG said the reply was “not tenable,” because point-303 rifles had been declared obsolete more than 20 years ago, while about 48 per cent of the force is still using it. “Further, out of the 15 test checked districts, in 14 districts, as many as 16,700 point-303 bore rifles were being used by the district police. The districts which were examined by the CAG for use of point-303 bore rifles were Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Sitapur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Moradabad, Jhansi, Kanpur Nagar, Meerut, Shahjahanpur, Lucknow, Sonbhadra and Agra.
Out of all these districts, only Moradabad was found to be using no point-303 bore rifles.