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Punjab to equip police with modern weaponry

punjab Updated: Apr 26, 2016 10:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Punjab government

The police department is set to place orders for 777 bullet-proof (BP) jackets and 595 BP patkas (headgear). For the first time, Punjab Police will buy two ambush-protected vehicles (Casspir) that help transport troops into the gun-battle zone.

The Punjab government has taken a Rs 107-crore leap to equip police with vital anti-terror tools, a strategic move aimed at improving the operational efficiency of the force in the wake of the terror strikes in Dinanagar and Pathankot.

On top of the shopping list are unmanned aerial vehicles and bomb and bulletproof ambush-protected vehicles—Casspir—that help troops enter the battle zone with guns blazing.

The focus will not only be on buying modern weaponry and equipment but the government has also decided to pump in over Rs 50 crore to create better infrastructure for police in border districts.

“Equipping the force with the latest bulletproof jackets, armoured vehicles, night-vision devices and hand-held thermal imagers is underway. The process has begun and it will be completed within this fiscal,” director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora said in an informal interaction with the media at the police headquarters here on Saturday.

The police department is set to place orders for 777 bullet-proof (BP) jackets and 595 BP patkas (headgear). For the first time, Punjab Police will buy two ambush-protected vehicles (Casspir) that help transport troops into the gun-battle zone. Besides, the police will buy 27 armoured vehicles, 24 armoured tractors, 117 night-vision devices, 827 handheld dragon lights, 11 water cannon anti-riot vehicles, 100 handheld thermal imagers and five micro and five unmanned aerial vehicles.

Equal emphasis has been laid on bomb detection and disposal equipment. For example, anti-bomb suits, deep search mine-metal detectors, explosive detection kits, explosive detectors and real-time x-ray viewing system will be bought. Most of the equipment will come from foreign countries.

According to the DGP, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has approved a “special package” of about Rs 70 crore alone for buying the armoured vehicles to “counter and contain” terrorist activities. An additional Rs 9 crore is being allocated “for the first time” to police stations to meet day-to-day expenses, such as crime-scene photography and disposal of dead bodies. Each police station will get Rs 25,000 per month to meet incidental expenses.

The DGP said the government had also sanctioned Rs 36 crore for arms and ammunition, Rs 5 crore for computers and Rs 97 crore to meet petrol/diesel and maintenance of vehicle expenses.

Also, construction activities will be started on a war footing in border areas to improve the condition of police stations, barracks and other police offices. The DGP said Rs 15 crore had been sanctioned for construction purposes, while Rs 23 crore for the rapid rural police response scheme.

Upgrading control rooms of three commissionerates and 24 police districts and putting in strategic places 552 bulletproof morchas is another feature of preparing police to repulse or launch anti-terror offensives.

State under CCTV network

Following the spate of incidents of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib, CCTV cameras will be installed in strategic and sensitive places across the state, according to DGP Suresh Arora.

Every police district will get Rs 2 crore each under the project, while 10,000 CCTV cameras have already been installed this month with the help of community participation, the DGP claimed.

“Now, we are better prepared to handle the sacrilege incidents. Requisite measures have been taken...people are also installing CCTV cameras on their own,” the DGP said, pointing out that both rural and urban belts of the state would be brought under CCTV surveillance with the help of community participation and state funds.

Brakes on out-of-turn promotions

Now on, the out-of-turn promotions, a power allegedly (ab)used to the hilt, have been stopped. Arora said the benefit would be given to the cops in exceptional cases, such as fight against terror.

The contours of a new policy appointing kin of a martyred cop—whether a constable or commissioner of police—as per the educational qualification is being finalised. “For example, if a constable achieves martyrdom in the line of action, his son, if qualified, will be appointed at least a sub-inspector. We are going to overcome rank distinction in giving jobs on compassionate grounds,” Arora said, indicating that educational qualification and not rank would be the guiding factor in giving job to the next of kin of the martyr.

On shopping list

Ambush-protected vehicles 2

Unmanned aerial vehicles 5

Armoured vehicles 27

Armoured tractors 24

Bullet-proof jackets 777

Bullet-proof headgear 595

Night-vision devices 117

Handheld dragon lights 827

Water cannon anti-riot vehicles 11

Handheld thermal imagers 100