BHUBANESWAR:The Odisha Government has termed a Rs 1450 crore bill, which the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has slapped on it for deployment of the para military forces in the State to combat left wing extremism (LWE), as ‘unreasonable’.
In a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik urged that the Centre must waive off the cost of para military force deployment in Odisha.
In 2011, the State Government had requested the Home Ministry to reconsider its decision of charging it for deployment of Central forces. It had also urged to waive the bill altogether though the Centre had replied last year that there is no such provision for waiving off the deployment charges as per the prescribed norms.
“The problem of Naxal violence has spread to large areas of India and it is the responsibility of both Centre and States to fight LWE by pooling together their resources,” Naveen said. While deployment of Central police forces is essential to supplement the efforts of State Police to counter LWE, the letter said the Odisha Government has also recruited, trained and deployed a large number of police personnel for anti-Naxal operations bearing huge expenditure from its treasury.
Under the circumstances, the claim for Rs 1450 crore towards deployment of Central forces appears to be quite unreasonable, Naveen said, adding, “Joint and coordinated operations of the State and Central security forces are the need of the hour and such demands (cost of deployment) should not take precedence over urgent operational requirements.”
Sources said such deployment cost bills are slapped on the States from time to time but is never paid. “It applies not only to Odisha but also to other States where such deployment is many times higher. Guess, what would be the bill amount presented to Chhattisgarh where at least 40 battalions of Central forces are pressed for anti-Naxal operations?” sources added.
While the bills are raised by CRPF and sent directly to the States, it does not pay and write to the Centre seeking waiver. Such demands by the State are routine but mostly political in nature, the sources pointed out.
Currently, about 7,000-8,000 personnel from the Central security forces are deployed in Odisha. While the Centre pays for their salary, contingency and other expenses are met by the State which is reimbursed through Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme.
“Such bills are a way of telling the States not to make unending requests for Central forces because the latter eventually has to make long-term plans for combating LWE menace. If the Centre had to make the recovery, it could as well adjust the same from assistance extended through finance commissions,” an expert pointed out.