BSF men at borders vulnerable to snake bites

BSF personnel guarding Indian borders remain vulnerable to snake bites as a proposal to prepare special knee-high boots hangs in limbo.

New Delhi: BSF personnel guarding Indian borders along Pakistan and Bangladesh remain vulnerable to snake bites as a proposal to prepare special knee-high boots hangs in limbo.

The reason for the woes of BSF troopers is premier Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) has not been able to up with a final design in the last two years.

"Sketch of the shoe drawn by the Director (Technical) FDDI was received and same after approval of Inspector General (Provisioning) has been sent to Director FDDI on December 30, 2009 for fabrication of one sample and specification.”

"BSF has also sent reminders to expedite fabrication of one sample of high ankle boot. However, no response has yet been received. Further efforts are underway to get the sample prepared and authorised by the Ministry of Home Affairs," the
Border Security Force (BSF) said in its reply to a Parliamentary standing committee on Home Affairs recently.

The committee had expressed its concern on the death of BSF troopers due to snake bite incidents and "strongly recommended" provisioning of such boots for jawans and officers guarding the crucial Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangla borders.

The FDDI, situated in Tamil Nadu`s Sriperumbudur, was set up by the government in 1986 with an objective to provide human resource and technical services to the footwear industry and is also recognised as a centre of excellence in this domain.

"The committee also came across incidents of death of BSF personnel due to snake bite coupled with the time taken to move the victims to hospital located far off from the border. One of the solution that was suggested to the sub-committee was that the BSF personnel be provided with knee-high boots. The committee, agreeing to the suggestion, strongly, recommends that the government should make a provision for supplying knee-high boots to the BSF personnel," the committee headed by BJP MP M Venkaiah Naidu said.

The committee also recommended special allowances for BSF troopers posted in "harsh" climatic conditions along the Indo-Pakistan border in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

It also strongly recommended better living and service conditions to these personnel who guard the country`s frontiers under "tremendous adverse" conditions.

"The Ministry (in its response) has stated that the desert/remote area allowance is presently paid to the BSF personnel posted in various areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern states. The committee, however, desires that such desert/remote area allowance should be paid to the BSF personnel in all desert/remote areas. There should not be any discrimination in this regard.

"In fact, the border areas in Gujarat and Rajasthan are sparsely inhabited having harsh climate and are non-negotiable. The personnel posted their deserve special allowance," the committee said.


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