India’s jawans guarding the borders can finally catch some sleep.
The Border Security Force (BSF) has asked all units to give the men and women deployed along the borders six hours sleep every 24 hours, and a day off every week.
So far, BSF personnel could not sleep for more than two hours at a stretch.
“They would take their bedding along when they stepped out of their outpost to their respective locations… and take turns sleeping,” said BSF’s additional director general (Human Resources) Arvind Ranjan.
For a perennially short of personnel force to keep an eye on more than 6,600 km of Indian borders, there seemed to be no other way.
“The jawan will either collapse… or sleep on duty,” BSF director general Raman Srivastava — who rewrote the rules of deployment for the force — conceded.
“This had become a tired force… the men were working with very little rest… nobody can sleep in shifts for too long and perform,” Srivastava said, counting the new personnel policies to give the jawans time off as his “most important personal achievement”.
Srivastava also introduced the concept of a weekly off. “In the paramilitary forces, there was no concept of a holiday…You were always on duty, literally,” the BSF commandant said.
On their holidays, Srivastava said the jawans would still not be able to leave their border outpost. “But they will be free to do anything they want… sleep, watch TV or read,” he said.
Srivastava said there were some locations where jawans won’t get these benefits. “But this is a small number and will be taken care of with new recruitments.”