BSF with mask
BSF personnel seen wearing mask. Image credit - Northeast Now

Apart from fighting against smugglers, insurgents and intruders while guarding the international border, the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel also have to fight against malaria.

However, to remain safe while guarding the international border with Bangladesh in malaria prone northeastern States, the BSF jawans now use masks of net to keep themselves protected from malaria.

A couple of years ago, many BSF jawans, posted in the border with Bangladesh, were affected by malaria and some of whom also lost their lives.

But now, there has been no report of death of BSF jawans due to malaria.

However, still there are reports of BSF jawans being affected by malaria.

It is now mandatory for all the jawans, who are posted in interior BOPs in Tripura to wear face masks of net and gloves all the time during patrolling duty.

They also use mosquito repellent creams.

“During the patrolling, our jawans also carry smoke pots,” P. P. Nautiyal, Commandant of 71 Battalion of BSF, told Northeast Now.

The BSF jawans of 71 Battalion are posted at Dhalai district of Tripura, which is a remote area of Tripura and most of the parts of the district are covered with jungles and rough terrains.

BSF with mask
A BSF jawan seen with mask. Image credit – Northeast Now
A BSF jawan seen with mask. Image credit – Northeast Now

Nautiyal informed that after implementation of the measures including masks, they have been able to control malaria infection among the jawans.

He said, “The jawans are doing their duties in many odd situations and besides all, if they are affected with some victor-borne diseases, it would add extra worry for them.”

The mosquito protection mask has been made in the battalion headquarters with medicated nylon nets.

The BSF Commandant also informed that they have planted some citronella grass in the battalion headquarters at Ambasa to protect the jawans from mosquito bites.

He said due to the fragrance of citronella, the mosquitoes don’t come to the circle.

Constable Sandeep Rane, who hails from Maharastra, told Northeast Now, “It is a completely new experience for me.”

He was earlier posted in Gujarat and Rajasthan but there he had no need to use such kind of mask to protect from mosquitoes.

Rane said, “Without mosquito mask and Odomos, we cannot go for patrolling here.”

Four northeastern states – Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam – share a 1,880-km border with Bangladesh, which is guarded by BSF troopers.

Tripura shares 856 km border with Bangladesh.

According to a health department report, Tripura registered only six cases of death due to malaria in 2017 while it was 14 in 2016 but no case of malaria death case in the last financial year.

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