BHUBANESWAR: The Unified Command of the State on counter-Maoist strategies on Thursday has decided to double the ex-gratia for the Odisha police personnel killed during anti-Left wing extremist violence.
The command, represented by top police officers, senior officials from administrative departments as well as central paramilitary outfits held its first meeting of the year where important issues were taken up for discussion. It was chaired by Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi.
The meeting decided that ex-gratia for police personnel, above the rank of Inspector, will be raised to Rs 20 lakh. For officers of the sub-inspector rank and below, it has approved a raise to Rs 16 lakh.
At present, the ex-gratia for personnel up to SI rank stands at Rs 8 lakh and for Inspector and ranks above that, it is Rs 10 lakh. It was last revised in 2008.
A proposal for enhancement of the ex-gratia is pending with the State government. In fact, such compensation awarded to the next of kin of Odisha Police personnel killed in Maoist violence is less compared to neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where it extends to Rs 25 lakh. Similar is the compensation structure in the central armed police forces like Border Security Force.
Besides the ex-gratia, the next of kin of policemen attaining martyrdom in Naxal violence are also entitled to an insurance of Rs 10 lakh, another Rs 4 lakh from welfare fund besides other compensations. Last year, three security personnel were killed in Naxal violence whereas in 2015, the number was four.
Another important decision taken in the meeting was constitution of a Contingency Fund for meeting the medical treatment expenses of policemen injured in anti-Naxal operations. Currently, such expenses are met from the Central Police Welfare Fund which is a fund pool created through contribution from every police personnel-from DGP to constable levels. The contribution is made annually by way of one-day salary which is paid in two installments.
However, the treatment expense comes in the form of a loan, which can be repaid in easy interest-free installments.
The issue had come to fore when eight police drivers were killed in a landmine blast near Sunki in Koraput in February. The government had announced Rs 2 lakh towards treatment of each of the five injured.
The Unified Command also took stock of the progress of Gurupriya Bridge that connects the cut-off areas of Malkangiri.
Padhi told mediapersons that the project is expected to be ready by July and would greatly benefit the locals.