Kolkata: Mobile phones are to blame for rising suicides in the BSF as it lets the troopers know about problems in their families, at times causing intense depression, an officer said on Sunday.
"Unable to cope with the pressure at work and familial problems, often they are getting depressed," Additional Director General (East) BD Sharma told the media here.
"Till August, 15 BSF personnel have committed suicide in the eastern theatre. Depression is the major reason. In a sense, the telecommunication boom can be blamed for the suicides," he said.
"You can`t worry about something you don`t know. That is what used to happen earlier when letters would take weeks to reach them. But with the advent of mobile they are now instantly aware of problems back home."
In 2007, the number of BSF personnel committing suicide in the eastern theatre was 18. This slid to 15 the next year. The corresponding figures for 2009 and 2010 are 13 and 14 respectively.
Last year, 21 troopers took their own lives.
The BSF now ensures that troopers get compulsory leave on three occasions per year.
"We have mandated that a trooper will have to go on leave at least thrice a year. Moreover, if somebody has exhausted his leave we arrange for his families to come over and stay for few days," said Sharma.
Sharma, who has done a study on suicide in the forces, said in most cases the personnel committed suicide immediately after returning from home.
Regular counseling and motivational programmes are also conducted to keep the personnel in right frame of mind.