Two more IRBs for HP, says Dhumal

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Shimla, Feb 17 (UNI) The Centre has agreed in principle to sanction two new Indian Reserve Battalions (IRB) for Himachal and double the budget under Border Area Development Plan for the next financial year, state Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today said.

One battalion each for women and men would be constituted in the near future, he said after his meeting with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil in New Delhi today.

Mr Dhumal said a women battalion in the state was being constituted for the first time and added that the women battalion would be trained to operate in terrorists and naxal infected areas of the country.

Besides, they would also be specially trained to meet the international norms for deployment in the international peace missions under the aegis of the United Nations, he added.

He said the union home ministry would provide a central assistance of Rs 25 crore as raising cost for these battalions.

In all, 2,000 posts of different categories would be created in these battalions, he said and added that out of a total strength of 1,925 rank posts, 65 wireless staff and 20 posts of medical and ministerial staff would also be created.

The Chief Minister said Centre would also provide Rs 16 crore as capital costs for meeting the infrastructure expenditure and this would be in the shape of grant-in-aid from funds allotted under security related expenditure.

All vacancies in these battalions would be filled soon and the entire recruitment process would be completed within a two-year period by 2010, he said.

Mr Dhumal said the state government would send quarterly report to the Centre on the status of these battalions, whose annual expenditure would be borne by Himachal.

The government would make available these battalions to the Central Government in any exigency arises besides being deployed in any part of the country, he added.

UNI AS PS BP1813

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