Bengaluru: Karnataka police are facing a huge shortage of weapons, a report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has revealed.
The report also states that the state has failed to modernise its force, which could be a challenge in case of an internal security threat.
The report highlights how the weapons are still not up to the prescribed standards by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), despite procuring the weapons. It shows that there is a shortage of 1,200 - AK 47/5.56 Excalibur guns - which is 37% lower than the required number.
The maximum shortage of about 72% is seen in 0.303 Truncated Rifles. Essential in every police station, these have not been procured since 2012. Even though these rifles were termed obsolete way back in the late 1980s, the state police force still uses these rifles and even those are lower than the prescribed scale with a shortage of 1313 rifles. Likewise, there is a 70% shortfall or 2866 lesser than the required number of 5.5mm INSAS rifles.
Agreeing that Karnataka police are facing a shortage in arms, Deputy CM and Home minister of the state G Parmeshwara, however, refuted some of the CAG report claims, saying that they only go by a sample survey.
"We are reviewing the requirement of fire arms and modernisation is also taking place. Karnataka police are one of the most modern police forces," he said.
The CAG report also points out to the fact that the Communication sets used by the Karnataka Police are outdated. Off the 43,636 communication sets available with the department most of them were analog walkie-talkies and only 240 were digital walkie-talkies. The report further says that communication sets were last procured back in 2009-2010.
"Thousands of crores are spent by the government in getting new vehicles, computerisation, CCTVs etc. But for a police personnel, his weapons are the most important. Yet, the government is not focusing on the real issue," said BNS Reddy, an ex-IPS officer from Karnataka.
Speaking to CNN-News 18 he highlighted how Bengaluru being the IT capital and houses many MNCs, most of the IT/BT companies spend crores in employing CISF for their security, which goes on to show that they do not trust the existing police force.
The CAG report exposes the reason behind this trust deficit. "Those at the helm of affairs, need to make the right decision, they need to pull up their socks and ensure that the police are well-equipped," Reddy added.