Shah expresses concern over rising COVID-19 cases in CAPFs, says wellbeing of troops govt's priority

New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday expressed concern over increasing COVID-19 cases in Central Armed Police Forces like the BSF and said safety and wellbeing of the troops are Modi government's priority.

Shah also directed for proper arrangements for health check-up and treatment of 'COVID warriors' and timely payment of dues in case of casualties, a home ministry statement said.

The issue of a large number of coronavirus cases in the CAPFs was discussed at a high-level meeting, chaired by Shah and attended by directors general of BSF, CRPF, CISF, ITBP, SSB and NSG and senior home ministry officials.

At the meeting, the home minister said the Modi government is not only concerned over spread of COVID-19 but is making all out efforts to ensure safety, security and wellbeing of all CAPFs, the statement said.

He inquired about the situation regarding the security personnel affected by COVID-19 in each of the CAPFs as well as the cases that are found to be asymptomatic.  As many as 530 CAPFs personnel have tested COVID-19 positive so far while five personnel succumbed to the disease - two each from the BSF and the CISF and one from the CRPF, officials said.

Among the active coronavirus cases, 221 were in BSF, 161 in CRPF, 35 in CISF, 94 in ITBP and at least 17 in SSB.

During the meeting, the innovative measures taken by each of the CAPFs in order to contain the disease were also discussed.

The suggestions ranged from providing awareness and training about precautions, changing the arrangements in mess and staying facilities in barracks, boosting immunity according to Ministry of AYUSH guidelines and ensuring proper personnel management, keeping in view the age of the security personnel and their health history.

Acknowledging efforts of CAPF personnel in the fight against COVID-19, Shah asked the senior officers to ensure important things like timely payment of dues, including ex-gratia, insurance in case of casualty, the statement said.

He also asked the officers present to be in touch with affected personnel and their families, ensure proper arrangements for their health check up and treatment, including establishment of a dedicated hospital or facility for COVID-19 affected CAPF personnel and also increasing effective tracing and testing facilities.   Shah also suggested that there should be sharing of best practices among the CAPFs and also laying down the Standard Operating Procedure for health related as well as management issues, like sanitisation and ensuring the use of appropriate protective gear by the personnel etc.  The CAPFs are about 10 lakh personnel strong and they are shouldering a variety of internal security duties in the country.

The CAPFs have launched multiple measures to contain the infection by sanitising the premises and asking troops to strictly follow anti-coronavirus medical protocols, officials said. PTI ACB ZMN