Punjab strengthens security along Pakistan border

Punjab Armed Police training
CHANDIGARH: Punjab has deployed five battalions of Punjab Armed Police (PAP) were deployed along the border. PAP is the second line of defence after the Border Security Force (BSF).

Twenty-five companies of PAP that form five battalions have been deployed in Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur and Fazilka districts. The force is equipped with weapons, night vision devices, bullet-proof jackets and vehicles. Around 1,200 cadets of Punjab Police Training Academy have also been deployed in these areas. “We have asked villagers to install CCTV cameras and to keep a tab on any suspicious movement,” said a police officer.

Orders have been issued that there should be no movement from evening till dawn within 500 metres of the border except by BSF, police, defence and customs officials. Wild bushes have been cut to improve visibility, and the government is mulling cutting the 10- to 15-foot high sugarcane crop.

“The state government has decided to acquire 400 acres of land (11 feet long path) along the international border,’’ said a senior officer.

Director-general of Punjab Police (Law and Order) Hardeep Singh Dhillon held meetings with BSF, Army and Indian Air Force officers along the border. Punjab Police is buying two drones for Rs 10 lakh to keep a watch from the sky. It is also buying two Adityas, India’s first mine-protected vehicles developed by Vehicle Factory Jabalpur, for Rs 1 crore each, a dozen armoured vehicles costing Rs 36 lakh each and a dozen light bullet-proof vehicles for Rs 42 lakh each. Twenty-four tractors are being bullet-proofed to be used in fields and terrain where other vehicles cannot go. Seven-hundred bullet-proof jackets are also being bought for Rs 40,000 each.

Police and BSF have seized Pakistani SIM cards and mobiles from smugglers, intruders and terrorists.

Punjab Deputy CM and the state’s Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had requested Rajnath Singh to allow Punjab to raise the five PAP battalions. Badal said Punjab government has identified 75 places where check-points are needed. He stressed the need for technology to seal the border effectively. He also sought funds to modernise Punjab Police and said though the Centre gave Rs 18 crore for it, the state has spent Rs 100 crore on the modernisation drive after the Pathankot terror attack.