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Paramilitary forces want own medical college
New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS):
Published on 10 Aug. 2009 11:31 PM IST
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The troopers who guard India’s borders and fight terrorists are faced with a huge shortage of doctors, often resulting in deaths due to delay in treatment. Now, the country’s seven paramilitary forces hope to reduce casualties with the move to set up their own medical college. “We have recently sent a proposal to the home ministry to set up our own medical institute where children of officers of paramilitary forces would be trained as doctors. A small percentage of civilians would also be given admission,” M.L. Kumawat, who retired as director general of the paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) July 31, told IANS. The institute will be on the lines of the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in Pune. “The government has liked the idea very much and has in principle given the approval to set up the medical institute. They have asked for a detailed proposal and concerned officers are meticulously working on it now,” said Kumawat, who was also chairman of recruitment board for hiring doctors for the central paramilitary forces this year. Kumawat said there is a sanctioned strength of over 1,900 medical officers in the seven paramilitary forces -- BSF, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Assam Riffles. However, over 700 posts are lying vacant and there is no doctor available to troopers in many far-flung areas. “One of the reasons these positions are lying vacant is we don’t get good candidates. Even if we do, they don’t turn up at the time of joining. The other reason is they do not want to go to far-flung areas because of which timely medical services don’t reach troopers,” Kumawat said. “We have been severely hit with this problem, so we decided to set up our own medical institute on par with the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), where students are asked to sign a mandatory bond of serving the nation for at least 15 years,” he added. Of the paramilitary forces, the BSF is stationed at the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh, the CRFP is tasked to help state police forces across the country and the CISF guards vital installations. The ITBP is deployed along the India-China border, the SSB not only guards the India-Nepal border but also fights Maoists. The NSG is called out to tackle incidents like the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai. At present, the combined strength of all the paramilitary forces is around 600,000. And the government has decided to raise their strength and asked each of the forces to brace to join the fight against Maoists active in several states. A senior paramilitary official tackling the Maoist problem told IANS on condition of anonymity that most of the casualties occur due to delay in treatment. “It’s a bitter truth that many of our injured men, fighting Maoists and unwanted elements, die due to excessive blood loss on road to the primary treatment centre. It usually takes one-two hours to take the injured to hospital. Many lives can easily be saved if immediate treatment can be administered to them near the ambush site by doctors,” the official said. “But no one wants to risk their lives. So there is no other option except to rush the injured troopers to hospital, which results in loss of crucial time,” he added.

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