Army overloaded; strict screening now of requests for help

New Delhi: NDTV has learnt that the Defence Ministry has decided to be selective in accepting requests by state governments for Army deployment.

Requests that are found to be trivial will now be rejected outright. Sources say the Defence Ministry will now ask the states to use their own resources first.

Over the past few years, the Army has been repeatedly called in by states to carry out tasks that are unrelated to its primary functions.

For example in Kurukshetra in July 23, 2006, the Army was called in to rescue a boy, Prince, who accidentally fell into a borewell while playing. The rescue operation, led by the 66 Engineers Regiment of the Ambala Cantonment, worked for 60 hours to bring Prince out.

More recently in October 2010, the Army was asked to help rebuilt in record time a showpiece foot-bridge that collapsed near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue of the Commonwealth Games.

Army's help was also sought to help douse the fire at an Indian Oil fuel storage depot on the outskirts of Jaipur in October 2009.

2009: 1,400 soldiers on law &order duty for over 45 days

2010: Over 3,500 soldiers called infor flood relief

2,000 soldiers called for minorincidents like chimney collapse, fire

The move is being seen as the Defence Ministry's bid to ease the load on the Army.