New Delhi: The full strength Unified Commands for streamlining anti-Naxal operations in four Maoist-affected states of the country will be made operational very soon as state governments have started putting the mechanism in place.
The Commands, to be based in capitals of the four states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orrisa and West Bengal, will be headed by their respective Chief Secretaries.
The other members will be the state Director General of Police, the Development Commissioner of the state, Inspectors General (anti-Naxal operations) of the state police and the CRPF, an official of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and an official of the state intelligence along with a retired Major General rank officer of the Army.
"The Unified Commands will be in place and start functioning very soon. May be a week or ten days, "sources said.
The decision to create a Unified Command structure in these states -- on the lines of Jammu and Kashmir and Assam -- was taken at a meeting of Chief Ministers of Naxal-affected states chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Home Minister P Chidambaram on July 14 in the national capital.
According to top government sources, the Unified Commands in all the four states will have powers and responsibilities for anti-Naxal operations by security forces like CRPF, BSF and ITBP and the state police and will also chalk out the action plan for development initiatives once these forces dominate an area.
The Unified Command will also be vested with the powers to use and direct the helicopters allocated to each state for rescue operations and troop reinforcements, sources said.
Meanwhile, the central government in co-ordination with these four state governments is also planning new helicopter bases and helipads so that the air operations could be
enhanced in these areas.
The BSF air wing, which is operating the helicopters in these zones, will be supplemented with more ALH Dhruv helicopters and those from the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The total number of such helicopters will be around 20, of which some would be Dhruvs. There are presently two Mi-17s and four Dhruvs deployed for anti-Naxal duties.
According to sources, the Chief Secretaries of these states have been asked to notify the commencement of the Command as soon as the Inspector General (Operations) of the state police take charge of their exclusive duties in these states and a retired Major General is brought on board.
It would be preferred if the retired Major General is based in the same state to which the Unified Command belongs to. Army officers who had a stint in insurgency-hit areas
would be preferred, sources said.
The Command will also be responsible for overseeing inter-state operations. The officials of the CRPF along with the state police and officials of the development departments
have also been asked to prepare deployment details, area topography and other resources to be furnished and kept at the disposal of these four Commands.