Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 11:
The Odisha government has sought 25 more companies of central paramilitary forces (CMPF) and three more helicopters to ensure a violence-free election in the state.
The state government’s request comes a day after deputy election commissioner Alok Shukla took stock of election preparedness in the state with a particular focus on ensuring free and fair elections in the Maoist affected areas.
Though the state already has 89 companies of CPMF, it requires an additional 25 companies as many districts, mainly bordering Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, are severely hit by Naxalite menace, Home department sources said.
The helicopters will be needed to ferry security forces in the remote, inaccessible areas of Malkangiri, Koraput, Bolangir, Nuaparra, Kalahandi, Rayagada and Gajapati districts, they said.
The state government’s request had a renewed urgency on Tuesday when Maoists ambushed a joint patrolling team of CRPF and state police in neighbouring Chhattisgarh, killing 16 of them. An alert had been sounded in all the bordering districts to ensure that no influx of rebels takes place after the Chhattisgarh incident, top police sources said.
Maoists in south Odisha, it may be noted, have already given a call for the boycott of the polls.