New Delhi: Senior IPS officer Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar took charge as the new Director General (DG) of the CRPF on Friday, days after the paramilitary force lost 25 of its men in a deadly Naxal ambush in Chhattisgarh.
The 1983-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer spelled out his priorities soon after taking charge and said it was important for the paramilitary force to strategise, plan and implement at "all levels".
He told PTI that his immediate priority would be to review operational and logistical issues and challenges being faced by the force and find a solution to them.
Bhatnagar, 57, reached the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters at Lodhi Road here in the morning and took charge after he was accorded the ceremonial guard of honour.
The government had issued an order appointing Bhatnagar as the new full-time DG of the force on April 26.
The post had been lying vacant for close to two months after K Durga Prasad retired on February 28.
Acting DG Sudeep Lakhtakia handed over the baton to Bhatnagar, who returned to India last night after attending a conference in Jakarta.
Bhatnagar was till now serving as the DG of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
He will have a 32-month-long stint as the head of the about three lakh personnel strong force as he is due to retire in December 2019.
Soon after taking charge, he asked his officers to give him a briefing on the recent incidents in Chhattisgarh that claimed the lives of 37 troops.
On March 11, twelve men were killed in a Naxal ambush in the Bheji area in Sukma.
He also reviewed the CRPF operations in Jammu and Kashmir with a special focus on Kashmir Valley which has been witnessing incidents of terrorist attacks, stone-pelting and civilian protests.
A senior officer said the new DG asked senior officers and commanders that operational lessons learnt in the field should be factored in while planning for training and amending standard operating procedures (SOPs).
"There is a need for the force to become a learning organisation and we must improve as we go along. Grievance redressal and welfare of men, camaraderie and close interaction with them is essential for all officers.
"There is a need to have an appropriate technology to support our operations," Bhatnagar told officers in his first meeting with them.
An MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad, Bhatnagar has served in various capacities in his cadre state of Uttar Pradesh and is also an alumnus of the National Defence College.
The CRPF is the country's largest paramilitary force and is deployed as the lead force for conducting anti-Naxal operations and to render a variety of roles in the internal security domain.