Lucknow: The Comptroller and Auditor General has red-flagged shortage of ammunition for the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad, noting that MP5 9 mm machine guns, UBGL and 12 bore pump action guns were provided to the special force without the requisite ammunition.
In its ‘Performance Audit of Modernisation and Strengthening of Police Forces’, the CAG observed that arms and ammunition are the most crucial requirement for operational activities of special forces like the ATS.
“The audit, however noticed that ATS did not get ammunition as per requirements. Arms like 9 mm MP5, 12 bore PAG, hand grenades, stun grenades and UBGL were provided for the first time to the ATS during 2013-15, but ammunition for these weapons was not provided except for hand grenades, which was also not as per the requirement,” the CAG said in its latest report tabled in the UP Assembly.
The report further mentions, “Ammunition for .303 CTN LMG was provided in 2010-11 without availability of the weapon, which resulted in the ammunition lying in stock even up to March 2016.”
In reply, the government said that there was no shortage of arms and ammunition in the commando training schools.
“Reply is contradictory to the fact that no commando training has been organised during last three years,” the CAG said.
The ATS was established in November 2007 to combat and effectively control terror activities in the state.
The CAG observed that after various terrorist attacks in the country such as the Mumbai blasts, Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad and 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai (2008), the Uttar Pradesh Police in 2009 decided to establish a commando unit of 2,000 commandos and ‘Hubs’ on the lines of the National Security Guards (NSG).
The Uttar Pradesh government in July 2009 nominated UPRNN as the construction agency of the ATS commando training centre in Lucknow.
The ATS was in October 2009 nominated as the nodal agency for training of commandos of ATS, STF and security unit, and was directed to submit a detailed proposal in this regard.
The CAG in its report said, “Establishment of commando hubs at Agra, Lucknow, Meerut and Varanasi, and establishment of Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism (CIAT) School at Mirzapur for Naxal/Jungle warfare training has still not been taken up and even land acquisition process has not been started for hubs (25 hectares each) and for CIAT School (75 hectares).”
Establishment of CIAT in Mirzapur and four commando hubs could not be completed even after five years due to government’s “failure” to acquire land and ensure timely construction by the construction agency, it said.
“Such a lackadaisical attitude of the state government in matters of building capacities and ensuring preparedness for taking effective anti-terrorist measures and counter insurgency operations may seriously risk the safety and security of the people in the state in situation of a terrorist/Naxal attacks,” the auditor said.
Establishment of commando unit on the lines of the NSG to combat terrorism in the state was not given priority and seriousness by the government, which may have negative security implications, the auditor said.
The government in February 2017 had stated that the proposal for sanction of posts, construction of buildings, procurement of vehicles, procurement of arms and ammunition is pending with the government of Uttar Pradesh.
The top auditor said, “Modernisation and strengthening of ATS was not achieved as envisaged and the state remained vulnerable to terrorist activity.”
The CAG recommended that required manpower, advanced weapons and ammunition to ATS should be provided without any delay.