I take blame for delay in helicopter evacuation operations: CRPF DG

NEW DELHI, Mar 17:
CRPF chief Kuldiep Singh on Thursday said he will hold himself responsible for delays in air-evacuation of injured personnel but pointed out that sometimes “practical difficulties” crop up in executing such operations in the anti-naxal combat domain.
Talking about a recent incident in which an injured Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer in Bihar could not be airlifted for over seven hours, he said that “why the helicopter could not evacuate the officer or during other operations is a big technical issue”.
“If you ask who is responsible for this, I would hold myself responsible, it is our responsibility to ensure helicopters are provided to troops because it is we who ask our troops to go out for operations. If anyone is to be blamed, it is me. I cannot blame anyone else,” Singh told a press conference ahead of the country’s largest paramilitary force’s 83rd raising day on March 19.
The CRPF director general (DG), however, said, “But I can tell you that pilots and agencies operating sorties in these (left-wing extremism) areas are professionals. There are practical difficulties in conducting these air evacuation operations.”
The force regularly takes up issues related to concerns over delay in evacuation by air with the top brass of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Border Security Force (BSF), which operate helicopters for aiding ground troops fighting in left-wing extremism (LWE) areas, Singh said.
He said whenever there are “doubts” that a particular air evacuation did not take place as it should have or the pilots refuse a sortie on grounds of poor visibility or inclement weather conditions, the CRPF takes it up with senior authorities.
“We also feel sad, the families of the injured or slain troops are anguished but I can tell you it is not exactly someone’s fault. We have found that pilots did their best in the given conditions. Also, we are not capable to comment on the decision that pilots or air crew take at that moment. We do the best as per our professional approach,” the DG said. (PTI)