New Delhi: Central Reserve Police Force has stopped using mine-protected vehicles (MPVs) deployed for carrying troops to minimise causalities resulting from IED blasts in Naxal-affected areas.
This is the first time that the country`s largest paramilitary force has issued a complete ban on the use of these four-wheeled armoured vehicles.
Close to 50 such armoured vehicles in Maoist hotbeds of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar have been rolled inside CRPF camps. These MPVs will be used in rare instances only.
"I have issued orders to my formations in the Left Wing Extremism areas to shun the use of the MPVs for patrol and other movements. As a result of this decision, this is the first time that no causalities in IED blasts or from hidden landmines in the first six months this year," said CRPF chief Pranay Sahay.
The CRPF Director General said these vehicles will not be used anymore for jungle patrols and the commanders have been asked to send their patrols only on foot, as part of the standard operating procedures for these areas.
"What is the fun in using these vehicles if they are not helping my men? This year we have had no causalities from IED attacks. This is a satisfactory achievement," Sahay said.
Seventy per cent of CRPF causalities last year were those resulting from IED blasts. The IEDs are buried as deep as 20 ft inside the ground, making it difficult to trace them.
The force chief said the MPVs, henceforth, will only be used when the conditions for their use are operationally suitable and are absolutely necessary.
The force has provided one MPV each to per battalion deployed for counter-Maoist operations in the Naxal violence affected states.
When blown off and toppled, jawans were killed inside the MPVs due to shock waves of the blast. At times, these vehicles were blown to smithereens as Naxals used explosives close to 80 kg.
The central paramilitary is in talks with defence research organisations to better the ergonomics of these troop carriers and also strengthen their defence to sustain blast from large volume of explosives.