GUWAHATI, July 2 - More than 30 per cent posts in the Assam Police Border Organization (APBO), which is meant for guarding the international and the inter-state borders, are lying vacant even as the scale of cross-border terrorism continues to be a matter of concern across the country.
Adding to the border policing woes is the equally depleted manpower strength of the State River Police, mandated to guard the international riverine areas along the vulnerable Indo-Bangla border.
Official sources informed that of the total 4,037 sanctioned posts in APBO, as many as 1,281 are lying vacant as on June 2016, with the actual strength being 2,756.
Of the 4,037 posts of the Border Organisation, 3,353 posts are sanctioned by the Central Government as per the Prevention of Infiltration of Foreigners scheme. The remaining posts are sanctioned by the State Government.
The APBO is also entrusted with the task to maintain the second line of defence along the Indo-Bangla border besides detecting and deporting illegal foreigners.
As far as the River Police is concerned, the situation is even worse. While the sanctioned strength of the River Police is around 210, its actual strength stands at just over 80, meaning that the percentage of vacancy is above 50 per cent.
Both the APBO and the River Police, two of the most crucial law enforcing units, are also facing issues related to its infrastructure.
�If the current security scenario is taken into consideration, effective guarding of our borders, especially the international ones should be of paramount importance. Both the Centre and the State machinery would do well not to overlook the gravity of the matter, especially in view of the changing security scenario and the emerging threat from across the border,� a top Assam
Police official told this reporter.
Disposition records of both the Border Police suggest that more than 300 posts of sub-inspectors and inspectors, who are considered as the backbone of police department, are lying unoccupied.
�Even crucial posts like that of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Additional Superintendents of Police and Deputy Superintendents of Police are lying vacant in the Border Police for years,� sources pointed out, adding, �A number of modernisation projects in River Police too are pending.�
Assam, besides sharing international borders with Bangladesh and Bhutan, also have inter-State borders with seven other States.