New Delhi: The Akali Dal government in Punjab has locked horns with the Centre over a bill of Rs 6.35 crore for the deployment of paramilitary forces during and after the terror Pathankot attack.
The Union home ministry has dismissed the Punjab government’s objections maintaining that the MHA does not impose charge for deployment of the NSG, a specialised force. The MHA has maintained that Punjab had requested for deployment of 20 companies of Central armed police forces and the laid-down norms and standard operating procedures for deployment of Central forces have traditionally mandated that charges have to be paid.
Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP are in power in Punjab. The Central paramilitary forces are only deployed when the state government makes a request for supplementing the state police forces. “Such norms have not been revised but continue as before. They have been shared with all states since a long time,” a top official said.
Whenever Central paramilitary forces are provided to any state, their expenses are borne by the Central government but it is adjusted against the state’s budget later on, a home ministry official said in Delhi.
The officials pointed out that the Centre also deploys paramilitary personnel in critical theatres of national security like LWE-affected states, J&K, north-eastern states and so on for lending assistance to the state police forces. The ministry maintained that it has never withheld deployment of Central forces when requests come from any state, but deployment charges have to be paid.
In a communication to the Centre, the Punjab government has said that since the deployment of these units was in “national interest”, the “expenditure thereon should not be billed to the state government”. The ministry of home affairs had billed the state government for the deployment of paramilitary forces in Pathankot and nearby areas for a period of 25 days between January 2 to 27 during and after the terrorist attack at the Air Force base.
The state, which has a debt of Rs 1.17 lakh crore as of September 2015, was charged by the Centre for 20 companies of paramilitary for a period of 25 days. The deployment of each company costs Rs 1,77,143 per day, according to the MHA letter, officials said here. Congress, meanwhile, has jumped into the controversy dubbing as “travesty” the Centre’s move to bill Punjab and making a strong pitch for waiver of all militancy related dues of the state....