January 17, 2015

Home Ministry approves warm high-altitude shelters for ITBP personnel in chilly terrains


The home ministry has approved purchase of high-altitude shelters, of the kind used in the US, for Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel posted in the inhospitable terrain along the India-China border.

These high-altitude shelters, with heating systems backed by diesel generators and interior lighting, will be a blessing for the paramilitary force which serves in sub-freezing temperatures in rudimentary border outposts.

According to a senior official, the ministry is looking for private manufacturers to provide trials of highaltitude shelters in field conditions at forward border outposts in Ladakh.

The ministry has decided that the shelters must meet the US Berry Amendments, a US law which mandates that the highest quality materials and components are used for manufacturering the shelters.
"This is because the shelters used in high altitudes have to meet the specific conditions posed by altitude, peculiar weather, lack of oxygen, hostile environment and psychological impact of these on human mind (psychokinesis)," says a home ministry document, which approved such shelters for the ITBP personnel.

As many as 81% of ITBP's border posts along the 3,488 km mountainous border with China are located above 9,000 feet and 46% of the border outposts get completely cut off  for several months during the winter.

There are 32 ITBP outposts located between 9,000 and 12,000 feet, 57 outposts are located between 12,000 and 15,000 feet and 24 outposts are located above 15,000 feet, with the highest outpost in Sikkim at 18,600 feet. Most posts see sub-zero temperatures. The ministry has also specified that these shelters should be easy to relocate quickly.

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