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'Remember Pulwama?' Experts ask govt after J&K air courier service for forces halts

The BSF, which is a nodal force has sent a letter seeking approval and extension of the services, is still awaiting the nod from the home ministry. 

air courier service for CAPF forces halts veterans Opposition slam government
New Delhi, First Published Apr 8, 2022, 3:51 PM IST

The air courier service for ferrying paramilitary personnel proceeding on leave or joining duties in Jammu and Kashmir expired on March 31 and the approval process from the Union Home Ministry has been entangled in a bureaucratic set-up. 

The Border Security Force, which is a nodal force has sent a letter seeking approval and extension of the services, is still awaiting the nod from the home ministry. 

Sources in the BSF told Asianet Newsable, "We have already sent the proposal and are awaiting approval from the government."

The opposition has slammed the Narendra Modi-led government for suspending the air courier services which were a lifeline for the troops posted in hostile areas. 

The main opposition party has alleged that the government always tries to take cheat the youth of this country in the garb of fake nationalism. 

Congress also said that the government is trying to invite a scenario like Pulwama again. "We demand the early restoration of the service for the sake of our brave troops." 

Former BSF ADG SK Sood too termed it as a negative step by the government. 

The Pulwama incident happened because a huge number of troops gathered at a camp and terrorists got an opportunity to carry out an attack on them, he said. 

"Air courier services provide convenience to troops, it takes less time in reaching the destination. I see it as a negative move by the government," the former BSF officer said. 

What are air courier services?

After the Pulwama attack of 2019, the government initiated the service to ferry the soldiers by air aiming to avoid any direct contact with terrorists and insurgents. 

In the Pulwama attack, a total of 40 CRPF soldiers were killed after an explosive-laden vehicle hit the convoy in the Pulwama district. 

The service was in operation since September 1 for seven months. 

On February 21, 2019, the ministry had allowed the extension of air travel in respect of non-entitled personnel of CAPFs, AR (Assam Rifles) and  NSG deployed in the Kashmir Valley to travel by air. 

The order allowed the facility of air travel to the jawans and other rank officers who were otherwise not entitled to travel by air.

What comprises the CAPF?

The CAPFs include the Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Central Industrial Security Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Sashastra Seema Bal and the National Security Guards.

Advantages of air courier services

The service provides safety and security. It also significantly cuts down the travel time on both the routes-from Jammu to Srinagar and back and from Jammu to Delhi and back.

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