Shortage of ammunition hampers shooting practice
Mumbai: Since the deadly 26/11 attacks, the personnel of Maharashtra police force have not undergone firing practices due to shortage of ammunition. This was revealed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which also criticised the State government for the various issues being faced by the State police.
The PAC also recommended that the government should address the pending issues with the Ordnance Factory Board in order to clear the backlog of supply of weapons.
The PAC of the State legislature, in a report, criticised the State government for its lackadaisical attitude towards modernisation of the police force, and demanded action against those responsible.
The committee headed by senior Congress legislator Gopaldas Agrawal, which tabled its report before the State Assembly last week, has also sharply criticised the office of Maharashtra’s Director General of Police (DGP), accusing it of ‘not being serious about the State’s internal security’.
As per the State government’s weaponry policy of April 2010 and August 2014 (post 26/11 attack), it was made mandatory for all police personnel across ranks to undergo at least one shooting practice annually.
The committee found that there is a shortfall of 60 to 71 per cent in armed firing practice during the period of 2011-2016.
The SP office, Pune, attributed this to the shortfall in availability of ammunition, while Mumbai CP stated to the committee that it was due to non-availability of firing range.
The principal secretary admitted that shortage of ammunition had affected the shooting practice.
The committee also suggested that the stock of modern weapons lying at the district armouries and central pool may be effectively utilised to fulfil the operational needs of the field units.
The government may ensure that the mandatory shooting practice is imparted to the police personnel to sharpen their skills.
In 2012-13, the procurement of arms and vehicles from funds allocated by the State and the Centre was not completed by the DGP Office in time, resulting in the delay.
The proposal was initiated after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, says the PAC report.
The committee has criticised the State Director General of Police (DGP) for the delay in using funds meant for procuring arms and vehicles for the police force, initiated after the 26/11 terror attacks. The committee has also recommended action against officers responsible for the negligence.