Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Feb 10:
The Odisha government on Monday sought four additional battalions of Central para-military forces (CPMF) to effectively counter the Maoist menace in the state.
Apart from this, the state government also requested the Centre to sanction the remaining Rs 122 crore assistance to expedite the construction work of Gurupriya river bridge in the cut-off area in Malkangiri district which is the stronghold of the red rebels.
The meeting, presided over by Union Home minister Rajnath Singh, was attended by Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, Maharashtra chief minister Devinder Fadnavis and chief secretaries and directors general of police (DGPs) of Odisha and Telengana.
For Odisha, chief secretary GC Pati and DGP Sanjib Marik apprised the Home minister of the steps taken by the state government against the Maoists.
Besides, they also informed about the ongoing construction of roads, bridges, railway lines, mobile towers, post offices, banks, the status of education and the health centres and other pending works in the Maoist-prone districts.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Pati said the state gresented its demand for early release of funds to complete the 900-metre Gurupriya bridge which would provide easy connectivity to Andhra Pradesh from Malkangiri. The bridge project has been hanging fire for the last decade and a half.
“Of the Rs 167 crore meant for the project, the Centre, so far, has released Rs 45 crore and we sought sanction of the rest Rs 122 crore at the earliest to expedite the construction work”, he added.
Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjiv Marik said the state also sought deployment of additional four battalions of Central forces to intensify its campaign against the Maoists.
“Besides, the state also requested the Centre to engage a pilot for the Mi-17 helicopter provided by the Centre to Odisha, for aerial surveillance in the Maoist prone districts,” he added.