Srinagar: The Border Security Force (BSF) has banned consumption of liquor by its troopers posted along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir, a media report said Sunday.
As the mercury dips close to freezing point in forward areas of the state and the ban on use of brandy, “which can come handy to cut bone-chilling cold,” at the BSF BOPs is a deterrent. BSF officials believe liquor can be a distraction in sensitive areas like Jammu.
A BSF trooper found intoxicated on duty can be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of up to six months under Section 24 of BSF Act and Rules.
“We cannot take any risk with spirits. Our layers of outfits are completely trustworthy,” BSF’s Inspector General Dharmendra Pareek was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Liquor was banned at even peaceful places in Meghalaya and Assam after its abuse was reported in 2007 and 2012, the report said. In Guwahati, the BSF had even tied up with Alcoholics Anonymous, an NGO, to help its alcoholic personnel tide over bottle blues, it said.
According to BSF guidelines for the BOPs, the troopers in cold areas like Jammu & Kashmir, are given thick clothes , popularly known as ‘extra issue’ or ‘extra cold climate’ to fight the cold.
This includes khaki gabardine woolen or terene jackets, foam leather hand gloves and angola shirts. Sleeping in barracks remains difficult. Though wool-mattresses are used in some barracks, most of the troopers use sleeping bags.
“There is also a pair of blankets given to each jawan along with thermal wears for nights. As far as hardship allowance is concerned, there is a lot of scope to increase that in these areas,” said Pareek.
In 2009, the Union home ministry granted risk and hardship allowances to BSF personnel like the army. It amounts to Rs 3,450 for a constable-rank trooper and Rs 8,800 for an IG-rank official.