Agartala, Aug 18 (IANS): The Tripura Government has asked the Central government to reimburse the entire salaries and allowances of the State's 4,011 Special Police Officers (SPOs), an official said here on Tuesday.
The SPOs, recruited from among the local youth, are mostly tribals and they have been assisting the Central Para-Military Forces (CPMF) and State forces to combat terrorism in the northeastern State since 2001.
"Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and three MPs (Member of Parliaments) separately met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi recently and strongly suggested that the Centre bear the entire salaries and allowances of the State's 4,011 SPOs," a Home Department official told reporters.
"They told Chidambaram that the Union Home Ministry has been reimbursing the entire salaries and allowances of the 31,800 SPOs in Jammu and Kashmir, 3,200 SPOs in Jharkhand and also the salaries and allowances of SPOs of Chhattisgarh," he added.
However, the Union Home Ministry is reimbursing only Rs 500 per month for 1,400 of the total of 4,011 SPOs in Tripura.
According to the Tripura government, the SPOs of Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have been getting Rs 3,000 per month as fixed salaries and allowances while the SPOs of Tripura are being paid Rs 3,500 per month.
"The performances of the SPOs in Tripura in assisting CPMF and State forces in curbing insurgency in the northeastern State has been highly acclaimed in the entire country," said the memorandum submitted to the Union Home Minister by the MPs. "A large number of SPOs in recognition of their performances have been inducted in Tripura Police, Tripura State Rifles (TSR) and CPMF," the memorandum said.
At the height of the insurgency in Tripura in 2001, altogether 2,000 SPOs were recruited to assist CPMF and State forces to flush out the terrorists and their collaborators as SPOs are familiar with the local situation and topography.
The number of SPOs in Tripura has risen to 4,011 through phased recruitment over the past 10 years.