Central forces at all polling booths in Bengal’s Maoist areas

Kolkata: The Election Commission Tuesday said all the polling booths in West Bengal’s Maoist-hit Junglemahal region, that goes to polls Wednesday, will have central security force.

The commission has stepped up vigilance in the region, in a bid to ensure peaceful polls in the large forested stretches of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura districts.

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As many as three helicopters, with a medical support team onboard, have been pressed into service in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas. Besides choppers, as many as 10 satellite phones will be functional on polling day.

“All the booths in the Maoist belt will have 100 percent central forces. We have made strong arrangements both inside the premises as well as outside,” chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta told reporters here.

Two of the three choppers in use for air surveillance have been sourced from Indian Air Force while the remaining aircraft is from the central paramilitary forces.

As per standard protocols of the ministry of home affairs, bomb disposal squads, road opening party and anti-landmine vehicles will be deployed in the Maoist areas.

Gupta said as many as eight anti-landmine vehicles have been procured from outside the state, in addition to the state stock.

Taking precedence from previous elections, the emphasis is on strengthening communication this year.