Weapons lying idle, field police personnel manage with old arms, says CAG report
At a time the State government claims to be taking all possible steps to modernise police forces for fighting Left wing extremists, a major reserve of sophisticated weapons were lying idle in stockrooms without being issued to naxal-affected police stations.
“Availability of modern weapons in sufficient numbers was a key requirement in modernising the police force in the State and a morale booster in their operations against Left Wing Extremism.
The State police organisation did not procure adequate number of such weapons while issued only a fraction of such weapons to operational forces, said Comptroller and Auditor General, report of which was tabled in the Odisha Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
It says weapons numbering 10,594 (value Rs. 14.80 crore) including 5,596 modern weapons (35 per cent) valued Rs.13.83 crore were retained in the State provincial store at Cuttack as on March 2011 unissued on the ground of non-availability of trained staff to handle these weapons.
“All these weapons meant for countering Left Wing Extremism (LWE) activities were not supplied even to the field units in LWE affected districts.
About 47 per cent of the total available AK-47 rifles remained idle at the State Provincial Store,” CAG said.
According to reports, in 36 police districts, despite availability of 28,814 weapons valuing Rs. 35.18 crore in its armouries, including 10,281 modern weapons, the same were not issued to police stations and outposts (Ops) on the ground of non-availability of trained staff to handle these weapons.
“Records of 48 test checked police stations and outposts in eight test checked police districts revealed that while no weapons were available in 13 police stations and four outposts, one pistol each was available in three police stations, modern weapons like AK-47 rifles were available only in two police stations. In remaining 26 PSs, old weapons like musket, bayonet and revolvers were available,” CAG finds.
It says, “in the field level police officials, who were actually responsible for operations, remaining either unequipped with any weapon or dependent on old weapons.”
The performance audit of police modernisation programme says about 55 per cent of total allocation was utilised for construction of buildings, merely 11.5 per cent funds were spent on important activities like communication, computerisation, forensic science and intelligence gathering which was sub-optimal, even as these were crucial to improving the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the State Police in dealing with rising LWE activities in the State.
LWE attacks were on the rise from 2008 onwards. As the striking capability of the State police force did not increase effectively to counter these attacks, despite various interventions through the scheme, casualties resulting from LWE had also gone up, the CAG report finds.
CAG report alleges that the State-Level Empowering Committee (SLEC) headed by the Chief Secretary, which was supposed to monitor the implementation of the scheme and give requisite directions to address critical bottlenecks in the implementation of the scheme, was found wanting in exercising requisite oversight.
Weapons meant for countering Left Wing Extremism activities not supplied to field units No weapons were available in 13 police stations and four outposts
Weapons meant for countering Left Wing Extremism activities not supplied to field units
No weapons were available in 13 police stations and four outposts