Government announces Free Air Travel for Paramilitary Forces to Kashmir
The government has issued an order approving the entitlement of air travel on Delhi-Srinagar, Srinagar-Delhi, Jammu-Srinagar and Srinagar-Jammu sectors to all the personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) which includes their journey for joining duty, transfer, tour or going on leave.
The facility till now was available officers in the rank of Inspectors and above has been now extended to the ranks of constable, a head constable and assistant sub-inspector. This decision will benefit approximately 7.8 lakh paramilitary personnel.
Now the jawans and sub-officers can book tickets in regular commercial flights and claim reimbursement from their organisation or force for this travel to and from Kashmir.
The decision is an extension to the existing air courier services for CAPFs where an entire aircraft is booked for the force personnel from either Delhi or Jammu to Srinagar and back. For the Jammu and Kashmir sector, an air courier service was already available for CAPFs jawans and this was extended in December 2017 to cover more routes like Delhi-Jammu, Jammu-Srinagar, Srinagar-Jammu and Jammu-Delhi.
Why the decision has gained significance?
During the February 14 Pulwama attack, 40 personnel of the CRPF were killed when an explosives-laden vehicle was blown off by a JeM terrorist, near the force bus that was plying between Jammu-Srinagar as part of a convoy. Questions were raised on why the troops were not allowed to travel by air so that the risk and threat of travelling on road, in large convoys in the Kashmir Valley, is eliminated.