New Delhi: The government has approved
deployment of six new MI-17 variant helicopters and also
enhanced the strength of CRPF troops to 76,000 for conducting
anti-Naxal operations in Maoist hotbeds of the country.
"Letter of Intent was issued on September 6 (this year)
for hiring of six MI-17 or equivalent helicopters on wet lease
for anti-Naxal operations," Home Minister P Chidambaram told
These additional air-combatants will be fully armoured
and will be deployed to assist in the deployment,
reinforcement and casualty evacuation of troops of the CRPF,
ITBP, BSF and state police personnel involved in counter-
At present, a total of nine helicopters are deployed for
similar duties in the Naxal operations grid.
These include four MI-17 choppers of the IAF in
Chhattisgarh, two each at Raipur and Jagdalpur, while out of
the five `Dhruv` Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) of the BSF,
three are placed at Raipur and two at Ranchi in Jharkhand.
Chidambaram also announced that the current strength of
the CRPF is being enhanced from 71 battalions to 76.
"A decision has been taken to deploy five newly raised
CRPF battalions in Left Wing Extremism affected states after
completion of their counter-insurgency operations training.
"With this, the number of battalions deployed for
anti-Naxal operations would rise to 76," he said.
Apart from the CRPF, the Border Security Force has
deployed 10 battalions and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police
(ITBP) has deployed five battalions for similar tasks.
Every single battalion of these forces has about 1,000