The stressful job of manning sensitive Indian borders in difficult terrain round-the-clock is forcing BSF personnel to lead a "nomadic" life with a state of continuous sleep deprivation, says a report on the state-of -affairs of the country's largest border guarding force.
The exhaustive report compiled after interactions with the on-field jawans and officers of this over 2-lakh personnel strong force also highlights a unique problem faced by the paramilitary called 'Zero Error Syndrome' where minor mistakes lead to severe punishment for the BSF men and women who guard two of the most sensitive and important borders of the country with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
It adds that long postings at the border and other places of deployment in the internal security grid of the country is making these personnel, called 'bordermen', face "social boycott".
"The BSF personnel lead a nomadic life. Every night they leave the comforts of the border outpost and go to zero-line with bedding roll and after 6 hours of active duty, in ambush/naka or patrolling, try to sleep for few hours (as per duty roster) at some temporary machans/improvised shelters in the company of mosquitoes and snakes," says the report, submitted to the Union Home Ministry for remedial action.
"Due to security considerations, the place of duty is changed daily but the threat remains the same. Constraints of manpower and responsibility of large area deprive the BSF personnel of much needed sleep at one stretch on any night of his duty. There is thus continuation deprivation of sleep which cannot be compensated by any means," the report, accessed by PTI, says.
It adds that the BSF personnel work under stringent discipline where committing mistake is very risky.
"The personnel are governed by stringent BSF Act and Rules. Even minor mistakes have been defined as offences and stringent punishments delivered to defaulters. The force thus maintains the highest standards of discipline.
"Due to sensitive borders, the accountability factor is very high. As a result, all persons work under a culture of zero-error. This attitude in the force has not only robbed BSF of initiative takers but is also causing avoidable stress and strain," the report states.