Indian paramilitary forces will receive sleeping bags, which will make their loads lighter by approximately half a kg. All the troops of the Indian Paramilitary Forces will get these bags for better protection from the cold.
The Indian officials emphasised saying, “These sleeping bags have been a long-standing requirement of the paramilitary forces, especially the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) which is deployed in cold-climatic regions along the India-China border. Until now, sleeping bags were given only to those troops who are deployed above certain high altitudes. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) last year gave its approval for procurement of the bags for troops who are posted below these altitudes as well”.
The letter from Ministry of Home Affairs addressed to the ITBP Director General approves the proposal of the paramilitary forces for light-weight sleeping bags for troops deployed below 9,000 feet in the North-East and 6,000 feet in other areas. The bags costing about Rs 20.4 crore would not only be for the ITBP, but also for the Assam Rifles, Border Security Forces (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). These bags costing approximately 1100 rupees per piece will be issued as part of their kit. It is expected to last for around eight years.
“This will definitely be lighter than the two blankets and a pillow, which each troop deployed in lower altitudes has to carry. It is portable and not cumbersome like the blankets. It can be used anywhere and will provide better protection from the cold,” said an official.
The sleeping bags are expected to benefit about 80 to 90 per cent of troops. “This amounts to about 9.5 lakh personnel. The procurement has started and they are likely to have the new equipment in the next two to three years,” said another official.
However, the bags will not be for officers because they receive a uniform allowance for buying such an item.
The troops of the ITBP, BSF, and SSB who are deployed at altitudes above 9,000 feet in the North-East and 6,000 feet in other areas are already being issued sleeping bags and not blankets. “The government has extended this benefit to all troops of the paramilitary forces. It is a welcome step and much-needed requirement,” said an official.
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