New Delhi: Country’s frontline-guarding force at Bhutan and Nepal borders — the Sashastra Seema Bal– has lost 10 times more troops in motorbike accidents in the last three years than at the borders or during operations, a recent report by the paramilitary force has said.
The “disturbing trend”, as noted in the internal report of the force accessed by the PTI, also found that those getting killed in such freak road accidents are “in the prime of their lives, about 30-40 years of age”.
“The report found that in the last three years, between 2015-17, 38 personnel of the SSB died in road accidents as compared to only four deaths in the line of duty or operations along the borders and in counter-militancy duties in Jammu and Kashmir.
The data shows that the force is losing about one personnel per month in accidents on an average in the last three years time, the report said.
The research-base report further said that out of the 38 deaths of personnel in road accidents, 28 were killed when they were off duty while 10 died while being on duty.
“Bike accidents are the reason for death in majority of these cases,” the report said.
A senior official said personnel in the junior ranks of jawans and sub-officers constituted the bulk of the casualties.
The report added that an analysis of these incidents in the about 80,000-personnel strong force shows more number of personnel were killed while they were off-duty thereby suggesting that once they are “out of the precincts of the force camp or are at home, they feel free from the close supervision and strict discipline of the force.
“They get euphoric and indulge in reckless, irresponsible and drunken driving which eventually turns fatal,” it said indicating the possible reasons for these losses.
The force, based on the findings of this internal report, is now undertaking some strict measures to reduce and end the menace of road accidents.
“A disciplined force like SSB which has onerous security tasks on its shoulders cannot lose its men in such freak accidents.
“The increased number of deaths of force personnel in road accidents is a very disturbing trend and warrants immediate remedial measures,” it said.
The report said it found that a similar trend of non- operational deaths in other security forces has been witnessed and they too are trying to tackle the issue.
A ‘road use and safety culture’ programme is now being undertaken in the paramilitary force across all its formations on the two borders it guards and at other locations like in Jammu and Kashmir and in anti-Naxal operations.
The SSB is primarily tasked to guard the 1,751-km long open border with Nepal and the 699-km frontier with Bhutan apart from rendering a variety of internal security duties.
It is also the lead intelligence gathering agency at these two borders as mandated by the Union home ministry under which it functions. PTI