Cabinet nod to raise special forces in 4 Maoist-hit states

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  1. nrj

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    NEW DELHI: Intending to equip states before launching a fight to finish war against Maoists, the Union Cabinet on Tuesday gave its approval to the home ministry's plan to raise anti-Naxal special forces in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh on the lines of Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh and sanctioned additional fund for the purpose.

    The specialized forces, capable of hot pursuit across the inter-state borders, will be set up with personnel fully trained in guerilla warfare and required infrastructure within six months.

    The fund, to the tune of Rs 280 crore, will be disbursed to these four states by the home ministry under its ongoing Scheme for Special Infrastructure (SSI). Part of the sum will also be used to upgrade infrastructure of Andhra Pradesh Police and its Greyhounds force.

    The finance ministry had in January given its nod to the proposal with an estimated corpus of Rs 373 crore. The home ministry will give Rs 280 crore out of this corpus to states to raise the special forces, whereas the remaining Rs 93 crore will be spent on creating basic police infrastructure.

    The home ministry, which has already decided to deploy 10,000 more paramilitary personnel in Maoist-affected areas over the next few months, had in January set guidelines for the special force and decided to fund infrastructure, weaponry and equipment needed to fill the critical gap.

    An official said, "This step is being initiated in the background of the success achieved by the elite commando force of Andhra Pradesh".

    Outlining the detail guidelines for raising anti-Naxal forces under the proposal, the official said that the special forces will be set up in such a manner that it can be capable of staying and operating in interior and inhospitable terrain\jungles for at least one week at a stretch with a view to take on ultras in their strongholds.

    Trained to reach inaccessible, remote forest areas throughout the state in the shortest possible time and conduct swift operations, the forces will have instructions to travel "mostly by road or on foot" to avoid landmines in the Red Zones.

    In order to ensure effectiveness of the scheme by adhering to set guidelines, the home ministry also put certain conditions before the states. In its communication to the states, the ministry said, "The special force of the state concerned has to be upgraded as per the approved guidelines on the lines of Greyhounds. Even if a special force has been raised in some form in states, they are required to be reoriented through the entire process mentioned in the guidelines".

    The ministry will seek a "written undertaking" from the states that they will strictly adhere to these norms. "Only states providing such an undertaking will be considered for funding under the scheme," said the ministry.

    Besides, the states will also be asked to raise a "highly professional, well trained and motivated Special Task Force (STF) - headed by an officer of the rank of additional director general or inspector general of police with adequate operational experience — to monitor training, infrastructure and induction of personnel as per guidelines. It will also ensure 60% special allowance to the commandos as incentive and rewards as well as out of turn promotions for conspicuous acts of bravery.

    Cabinet nod to raise Greyhounds-like special forces in four Maoist-hit states - The Times of India
     
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