| CRPF camp at the Gandak Project Colony No. 3 in Motihari. Picture by Ajit Kumar Verma |
A battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force is scattered across the town, functioning without any permanent infrastructure for close to six years.
Sources said the Union government has allegedly done precious little to ensure a permanent campus for the headquarters of the 153rd battalion of the CRPF.
In 2003, the 45th battalion of the paramilitary force was first deployed in East Champaran district to fight the Maoists. The 153rd battalion of the force replaced it in July 2007.
At present, four permanent companies of the 153rd battalion are stationed at Madhuban block of the district, apart from neighbouring Sheohar, Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur districts. While the CRPF personnel went about their work — administrative or security — they still lost out on operating from under one roof.
The officers of the 153rd battalion currently function on the premises of Gandak Project Colony No. 3.
The quarter guard and motor transport wing function from a government library, around 3-4km away, which came up in the town around two years ago.
The officers’ mess is located in a building of the district administration, around 1km from the Gandak Project Colony No. 4.
Senior officers of the battalion said proposals for a permanent campus for the personnel are being repeatedly sent to the home ministry.
Against this backdrop, the district administration has been providing makeshift accommodation to the battalion.
For the first six years since a CRPF battalion was stationed in the district, the headquarters functioned from then abandoned Motihari Engineering College.
However, once Nitish Kumar took charge of the state, he ordered the ailing institute to be reopened.
Alleged disturbances between the CRPF personnel and engineering students made the authorities look for another campus for the 153rd battalion, which had taken over charge by 2009.
Commandant of the 153rd battalion Param Shivam said: “Problems posed by the infrastructure problems cannot be overlooked from the point of view of the personnel’s inconvenience as well as security in the Maoist-affected regions of north Bihar.”
A source said: “Such scattered infrastructure is an inconvenience for the force during emergency. Moreover, neither the camp area is secured, nor there is any scope for the personnel to carry out extra-curricular activities. There is no proper ground for the personnel to conduct drills and parade or even sports. These are necessary for maintaining the officers’ fitness and warfare calibre.”
The commandant, however, appreciated the work done by the state police and East Champaran district administration to look for land so that the battalion could have its own base and could function from one campus.
He told The Telegraph: “I hope that in about a year-and-a-half, we can have permanent infrastructure and be in a position to provide our jawans dignified living conditions.”