In a move that will greatly help the personnel of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) deployed in Jammu-Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Affairs approved on Thursday free air travel for the troopers to and from Srinagar.

“The MHA has approved the entitlement of air travel on Delhi-Srinagar, Srinagar-Delhi, Jammu-Srinagar and Srinagar-Jammu sectors to all the personnel of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces,” the Ministry said in a statement.

The MHA said that the decision will benefit approximately 7,80,000 personnel of the CAPFs in the ranks of Constable, Head Constable and ASI who were otherwise not eligible earlier.

The ranks will be able to avail of the free air facility immediately. They will be able to take the facility while going on leave from J-K to their homes and resuming duty back in the state.

The Ministry said that the facility is “in addition to the existing air courier services for CAPFs”. Under the air courier service, entire aircraft is booked for the personnel for some routes.

The facility will not only help the jawans cut down on travel time but is being seen as a safer alternative in the wake of the 14 February Pulwama terrorist attack which claimed the lives of 44 CRPF jawans.

The air courier service which was earlier available on the Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu route was extended up to Delhi in December 2017.

The Home Ministry said that the number of flights on the route was extended in December 2018.

“In addition, air support is provided from IAF as and when required,” the ministry said.

Earlier, reacting to questions on why the convoy of over 2,500 CRPF personnel that came under attack was not transported by air, the Home Ministry had said that the movement by road will continue for logistical and operational reasons as is the case with the Indian Army.

Besides CRPF, the Central Armed Police Forces include the Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), National Security Guard (NSG) and Assam Rifles (AR). Among them only the CRPF, BSF and ITBP personnel are actively engaged in Jammu-Kashmir.