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CM meets Rajnath; seeks more central forces for Odisha

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, June 12:

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is on a five-day visit to the national capital, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here today.

Naveen Patnaik and Rajnath SinghThe Chief Minister’s discussions with the Union Home Minister focused mainly on Maoist activities in the state and measures to combat it. Patnaik dropped in at Singh’s North Block office at around 11.30 AM today.

While seeking an additional battalion of central armed police force for the state, Patnaik demanded two more helicopters for combating Maoists, said sources.

The Chief Minister also sought more mobile towers, especially by public sector tele-service provider BSNL, in Maoist affected areas to increase tele-connectivity in these remote areas.

Patnaik requested more assistance from the Centre under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme while demanding early release of the arrear of Rs 142 crore for the Gurupriya Setu (Gurupriya bridge) under construction in Malkangiri district that will connect the cut off region of Kudumulgumma block inside the Balimela reservoir.

Security arrangements for Nabakalebara festival of Lord Jagannath did not figure in the talks, sources said.

Significantly, the Chief Minister’s demand for an additional battalion of central armed force comes two days after CRPF DG Prakash Mishra, during a visit to Sunabeda in Koraput district, had said there was a need for deployment of more para military forces in Odisha.

Mishra  had said the number of para military personnel deployed in areas like Nuapada and Kalahandi districts was insufficient and more deployment was required in these areas. He had, however, clarified that he was not in a position at the moment to tell the quantum of forces that the Central government would be able to provide.