(This was originally posted in Hindustan Times by Utpal Parashar)
The Assam government decided on Wednesday to raise 10 new commando battalions on the lines of the National Security Guard (NSG) to strengthen the state police in its fight against crime. The decision was one of the several taken at a day-long meeting of chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who holds the home portfolio, with superintendents of police at Kaziranga.
“Assam police will have 10 new commando battalions. They will be stationed at critical places including the Assam-Nagaland border where we have a boundary row, the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) etc. They would be a special unit comparable to NSG,” Sarma told the media after the meeting.
As part of introducing reforms in the state police, the meeting decided to introduce two-shift duty in all police stations and start a new recruitment drive to implement that. “Sometimes policemen have to be on duty 24 hours. So, ideally we need three shifts, if not two-shifts in a day. We will start a new recruitment drive this year to implement this,” said Sarma
Free health check-up and one month of compulsory leave in a year for policemen posted in police battalions are some other decisions taken. The meeting also decided to set up seven new forensic laboratories in the next six months in order to handle the large number of cases registered as part of the police drive against illegal drugs.
“We will work to ensure that Assam doesn’t act as a transit route for illegal drugs and also bring down its consumption. Smuggling of cattle to the state from other states will not be allowed. Our response on these two issues will be very aggressive. There will be zero tolerance and we will strike at the root (of these problems),” the CM said.