NEW DELHI: The Army will now train CRPF personnel in detecting and defusing the deadly Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) which have claimed lives of over 100 troops and left many more maimed during anti-Naxal operations.
Plans are also afoot to set up an exclusive first-ever school for providing training in handling of IEDs for the country’s largest paramilitary force with almost three lakh personnel under its command.
The CRPF Director General, Mr K Vijay Kumar recently met Army Chief General V K Singh on sharing the expertise of College of Military Training (CME) in Pune to train his men in detecting and defusing IEDs, which have been found hidden at the depth of more than 15-feet in many cases in states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, officials said here.
Various IED tracing devices, ‘dip sticks’ used to detect hidden explosives and sniffer dogs have failed to be foolproof and a number of patrol parties, both on foot and in vehicles, have fallen prey to these deadly explosive devices which are sometimes as heavy as 50 kg.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which is the lead force for anti-naxal operations in the country, has deployed more than 60 battalions (about 60,000 personnel) in various states and it has lost 105 personnel in the last five years due to IED explosions only.
“The IEDs have been a major cause of casualties in CRPF and other forces operating in the Naxal affected areas. In order to obtain sound expertise to tackle the challenge effectively, the help of the army school is being taken,” a senior CRPF officer said.
The CRPF has recovered 1,547 sets of IEDs during 2006-11 and the numbers have been increasing over the years, according to official data.
In view of the crucial nature of the job, CME has begun training CRPF officers and men at the Group Centre of the paramilitary force in Pune while the CRPF is looking for land in the city to establish an exclusive centre for training in handling IEDs.
A few army officials will also be sent on deputation to the CRPF to put the school in place.