New Delhi: It has crossed 50 degree Celsius on the India-Pakistan in Gujarat and Rajasthan this summer and the Border Security Force soldiers on duty in the area are struggling for something as basic as sun glasses and clean drinking water.
A huge force of 11,000 soldiers and 7000 office staff is posted along the 1545-kilometre long India-Pakistan border in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The soldiers expressed the need for at least 10 water treatment plants and sunglasses to fight the heat.
Skipping the bureaucratic red tape, the Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Chaudhary has decided to tap into the powerful diamond merchant lobby to address BSF’s needs.
Chaudhary spoke to diamond merchants in Surat and Mumbai to help out the border guarding force. In an unique model the diamond merchants will participate in an auction on the June 19. The highest bidder will get an opportunity to travel with Home Minister Rajnath Singh to the border areas and distribute sunglasses and the other items the force needs.
“I aim to raise Rs 25 crore through this auction and 100 traders can be taken to the border,” said Chaudhary, himself a former diamond merchant. BSF Director KK Sharma welcomed the initiative. “It is a welcome initiative and we are thankful to the minister,” he said.
In ordinary circumstances such procurements need the local BSF unit’s permission. If the amount involved is huge then it will also require the permission of the IG and DG level officers, and finally the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs.
Apart from the RO plants and sunglasses, the BSF has a long list of demands which includes ambulance to ferry those suffering heatstroke, ECG machines at the force’s hospitals, 32 living quarters for families of soldiers and shades in the firing range so that the personnel can get some rest from the heat.