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Coronavirus: CRPF orders immediate withdrawal of orderlies from retired brass

 In the wake of coronavirus, the CRPF ordered immediate withdrawal of orderlies from retired brass, fearing they may contract coronavirus infection in the absence of proper healthcare facilities

Coronavirus CRPF orders immediate withdrawal of orderlies from retired brass
Bengaluru, First Published May 17, 2020, 11:28 AM IST

New Delhi: The CRPF has ordered immediate withdrawal of scores of its personnel working as domestic help and orderlies with its retired or repatriated officials fearing they may contract coronavirus infection in the absence of proper health care facilities, officials said on Saturday.

The step has been taken in the country's largest paramilitary force, they said, after reports emerged recently that four jawans posted with a retired additional director general-rank officer of another paramilitary force had been infected with the novel coronavirus.

The force, as per information accessed by PTI, has directed its northern sector based in Delhi to "immediately withdraw" all orderlies, security personnel, drivers and cooks provided from its regular strength of 3.25 lakh personnel.

It has also begun a manpower audit to ascertain the number of men used for extending such privileges, the duration of these attachments and the order under which these postings were authorised.

"After a full manpower audit post May 17, only the most essential ones will be allowed to continue once the COVID-19 infection is contained."

"Action will be taken against unauthorised approvals and the names of officials enjoying these perks illegally will be notified to the home ministry," a top officer who requested anonymity said.

The official said other central paramilitary forces like the Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force and the Sashastra Seema Bal are expected to issue such directions soon.

They said the withdrawal of personnel will also help the force to supplement its already depleted manpower as over 300 personnel from CRPF units based in the national capital have either been infected by the pandemic, quarantined or are on leave.

Also, they said, that withdrawal of these jawan-rank personnel is also to make sure that they do not get infected with the coronavirus as they may not be able to take proper care of their health while rendering these duties.

Recently, another paramilitary force had admitted four such staffers and a state police personnel to an isolation facility at its camp in Chhawla in south-west Delhi.

These five personnel were posted at the residence of a senior officer in Delhi since he retired from service in February.

"We do not want a repeat of such an incident. These personnel working as domestic help and orderlies are as vulnerable to the COVID-19 disease as anyone else," a top paramilitary officer said.

A back-of-the-envelope estimate by senior officials of these forces has found that over 100 vehicles and more than 400 orderlies and cooks of these Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) are deputed with various ranks of retired and repatriated officials across the country for varied periods of time.

The unofficial estimate put the expenditure of extending these perks at a few lakh rupees every year.

The Union home ministry had taken note of this abuse of manpower in 2016 and had said such practices "create a wrong impression in the public mind and are also against the basic decorum and discipline of government service, more so of the uniformed forces."

A directive issued on September 21, 2016 on the subject of ''retention of manpower, vehicle etc by police officers at their residence even after their retirement'' had asked state and central governments that such facilities should be withdrawn "within a period of one month of retirement of any police official."

It had said that those retired police officials who do not follow these instructions and enjoy these services by regular paramilitary personnel "should be made to pay”.

"Similarly, action should be taken against the serving officials who do not take timely action to withdraw these privileges from retired officials," the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order had said seeking its strict compliance.

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