Orissa to double strength of anti-Maoist force

Orissa will double the strength of its elite anti-Maoist force - the Special Operations Group (SOG) - to reduce its dependence on central paramilitary forces, a senior official said on Sunday.

Last Updated: Jan 16, 2011, 15:20 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Orissa will double the strength of its elite anti-Maoist force - the Special Operations Group (SOG) - to reduce its dependence on central paramilitary forces, a senior official said on Sunday.

The state now has 50 SOG units comprising about 2,400 personnel. In the next two months, the government will raise another 50 units, the official of the state home department told a news agency.

Seven battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), five battalions of the Border Security Force (BSF) and one battalion of the specialised anti-Maoist force - Commando Battalions for Resolute Action (CoBRA) are presently deployed in the state, mostly for anti-Maoist operations. Each battalion has about 1,100 personnel.

The government decided to increase the SOG`s strength not only to reduce its dependence on the central forces but also after it achieved success in anti-Maoist operations in the past two months in which over two dozen ultras were killed, mostly by SOG personnel.

The government believes that increasing SOG units will help it better fight the left-wing extremists.

Maoists are active in more than half of Orissa`s 30 districts.

IANS