New Delhi: To swiftly provide medical aid to troops undertaking anti-Naxal operations, the CRPF has set up four field hospitals deep inside the Maoist heartland of Bastar in Chhattisgarh.
The force has named these facilities after a local tribal leader.
The demand for such hospitals had been made as contingents of security forces, largely CRPF and its elite commando squad Cobra, are deployed in remote jungle areas and transportation is a challenge owing to the Naxal strategy of stealthily planting land mines in roads and laying deadly ambushes.
“One of our major challenges was the delay in the evacuation of injured men, especially in improvised explosive device (IED) blasts. We have set up four field hospitals in Chintalnar, Chintagufa, Bheji, and Basaguda which are right in the heart of the conflict zones so that we can provide care to our jawans during the golden hour,” CRPF Director General Prakash Mishra told PTI.
The Central Reserve Police Force had initiated the plan to have such mini-hospitals in the worst Naxal violence-affected south Chhattisgarh area last year and set up the first camp in Chintalnar under the Dantewada district in January this year.
The idea was not only to provide quick medical aid to the troops but also earn the goodwill of the local population for these men in combat uniform by extending them medical facilities free of cost.
Mishra had asked his field commanders in the state to increase the number of hospitals subsequently as there the state health department did not have such facility in these areas.
“These hospitals have been named after the great tribal freedom fighter Veer Gundadhur who belonged to this area. These hospitals have not only saved valuable lives of our men but have also provided the much need basic health care to the population around these camps. We are in the process of augmenting the facilities which are likely to be completed by year-end,” he said.
The hospitals, equipped with life-sustaining and resuscitation gadgets, have been established in areas which the CRPF chief had recently flagged as the most challenging for undertaking operations.
The Bastar region, on the southern tip of the state, sits on the borders with Telangana, Odisha, and Maharashtra which are affected by Naxal menace.
These locations where the field hospitals have come up are on the same axis that had witnessed the worst-ever Naxal ambush carried out by security forces in 2010 in which 76 men were killed.
Such field hospitals are set up by the armed forces in conflict zones so that troops in operations are provided immediate medical help before they are evacuated by air or road for advanced treatment.
The CRPF, which has a full-fledged medical wing, has based a team of doctors and paramedics at these camps on a 24X7 basis and troops can also be airlifted in case of emergency as these camps have helipads inside them.
Officials said such hospitals were required badly in these areas as CRPF men have on occasions either bled to death or developed complications because helicopter evacuation sorties could not come in due to bad weather or darkness or presence of Naxal squads.