Over 56,000 paramilitary personnel for Chhattisgarh polls

Over 56,000 paramilitary personnel have been deployed in Chhattisgarh for Assembly polls next month which the CRPF on Monday described as a "big challenge".

PTI| Updated: Oct 28, 2013, 21:46 PM IST

New Delhi: Over 56,000 paramilitary personnel have been deployed in Chhattisgarh for Assembly polls next month which the CRPF on Monday described as a "big challenge".
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) chief Dilip Tivedi, during a press conference on the eve of the 74th Raising Day of the force, said security agencies are well aware and have intelligence inputs of possible attacks on the forces, VIPs and candidates in the run up to the two phase polls scheduled for November 11 and 19.

"Conducting polls in Chhattisgarh is a big challenge for us. We have already deployed 562 companies of security forces for this task in the state. We are alive to every possibility and we have to be alert even after polling finishes," the Director General (DG) said.

One company has about 100 personnel.

Trivedi, who has already toured the state, said security forces are encountering and defusing a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) dug deep in approach roads in Naxal- affected areas.

He said security of important people is also a big task.

"We definitely have taken lessons from the Darbha Ghati incident and we can assure the country that we will deliver our best and ensure maximum security," the DG said.

The CRPF and other security forces are highly motivated and we have already inducted all the forces brought in the state for poll related duties, he said, adding battalions have been withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir and northeast for the purpose.

Senior officials said a number of politically important people in the state have been provided proximate and general security in view of the Maoist threat.

The CRPF, raised in 1939, is the country`s largest central paramilitary force with close to 3-lakh men and women under its command.

Talking about the Left wing extremism scenario in the
country, Trivedi said the "focus point" of the lead anti-Naxal operations force is on Chhattisgarh.

He said violent Naxal activities in West Bengal have gone "very quiet" as their capabilities have been dented by security forces.

"The Naxals coinage and idea of making a corridor from Tirupati (in south India) and Pashupati in Nepal is not working. Security forces are exerting a lot of pressure on them," he said.

Trivedi said he is getting "very little scope of keeping his men in peace" as the 228 battalion strong force has a nearly 100 per cent deployment, of which 80 per cent is in hard areas.

The force is planning on a new transfer and rotation policy to ensure some rest and recuperation to his state.

"We are also taking measures to improve the health conditions in the force and want to provide more nutritious food to our jawans and officers," the DG said.

Calling the Mine Protected Vehicles (MPVs), used to transport troops in mined areas in Naxal zones, as "fancy vehicles", he said these vehicles were not helping the force and hence the movement is being done either through unmarked vehicles or on foot.

"Why do we need to use the MPVs?... They are easily identifiable and our job gets done of transporting troops and material when we travel through other modes of commuting," he said.

A number of CRPF and other security personnel have been killed or maimed in the past as Naxals blew up these vehicles by planting IEDs and mines as strong as 80 kg.