A senior official said the move means that 80% of the total ITBP strength will now be provided with the special equipment required to survive in extreme weather conditions.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the ministry was considering a proposal to provide special clothing and mountaineering equipment (SCME) to paramilitary forces posted in areas that are located above 9,000 feet in the Himalayas.
At present, the SCME is provided to Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troopers posted at an altitude of above 14,000 feet.
A senior ITBP official told Hindustan Times the move means that 80% of the total ITBP strength will now be provided with the special equipment required to survive in extreme weather conditions.
The announcement was made by Singh during his visit to the Forward Areas of the Himalayan borders in Uttarakashi district. Singh ringed in the new year with the troops of the ITBP at Nelong border post located at a height of 11,636 feet in Uttarakhand, where the mercury dropped to minus 20 degrees Celsius on Monday.
This was the first time a home minister or a senior Union minister paid a visit to this border post. The home minister also said that a special project was underway to connect all the border outposts along the Sino-India frontier with roads.
The minister also said the government was considering to reduce the three-month mandatory posting of ITBP troopers in extremely high altitude camps.
A senior government official told HT that a trooper ends up serving more than three months at high altitude camps due to a shortage of manpower in the workforce.
“This aspect has been brought to ministry’s notice. Besides ensuring that a jawan does not end up serving for more than the allotted three month period, MHA is considering to bring down the number of days that a soldier is mandated to serve,” the official said.