For the first time in its 47-year history, the Border Security Force (BSF) has appointed a non-IPS officer as its commander for the eastern theatre which guards the Indo-Bangladesh border.
1975-batch BSF cadre officer Ravi Kumar Ponoth has been promoted and appointed as the new additional director general (ADG) for the forces' eastern theatre which is tasked to guard the 4,096km Indo-Bangladesh border, official sources in the forces' frontier headquarters in Kolkata said.
The post of ADG is usually occupied by an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and the cadre officers of the paramilitary rarely get an opportunity to head this top post, third in the hierarchy of the border guarding force after the director general (DG) and special DG, both posts reserved for senior IPS officers.
The incumbent of this post, IPS officer BD Sharma, has been transferred to the BSF headquarters in New Delhi.
Ponoth, till now serving as inspector general (IG) of the BSF South Bengal frontier, will take charge tomorrow in Kolkata.
He is only the third BSF officer to be elevated to the post of ADG and the two earlier officers had served in headquarter units and not at an operational formation.
The officer has served in all the duty theatres of the force ranging from anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir, counter-insurgency in the North East and anti-Naxal operation duties in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Ponoth, an acknowledged master trainer in the BSF, is an alumnus of the prestigious Defence Services Staff College, Wellington in Tamil Nadu.
He will however, be in charge for only two months as he is scheduled to retire in May this year.