CRPF Command Headquarters Shifted To Raipur From Kolkata

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Kolkata: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has shifted its strategic anti-Maoist command headquarters to Raipur from Kolkata to bring focus on combing operations in Chhattisgarh.

The move comes ahead of the meeting to be attended by the chief ministers of 10 Maoist-hit states on Monday.

Home minister Rajnath Singh will convene the meeting of chief ministers of states, including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal to fine-tune the strategy to tackle the rebels, who have killed more than three dozen CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh in the last two months.

The move is in line with the Centre’s plan to redeploy its forces from almost peaceful West Bengal to Maoist hotbeds of Abujmad in Chhattisgarh. The plan is likely to face resistance from Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government.

Seven years ago, the command headquarter was shifted to Kolkata due to logistical and connectivity issues.  Mamata Banerjee won’t attend the meeting, she is likely to send two of her senior bureaucrats for the meeting.

District magistrates and superintendents of police of 35 of the worst-hit Maoist-affected districts, along with heads of paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies, will also take part in the meeting.

Union ministers incharge of ministries of road and transport, railways, civil aviation, rural development,  power and telecom will be present to bolster the plan on road to telecom connectivity and electrification of villages in the areas.

“The states will be asked to strengthen their intelligence-gathering network, more on the line of intelligence capabilities acquired by the Telangana (erstwhile Andhra Pradesh) police that managed to crush Maoism from the state. Generation of human intelligence is key to deal with Maoists,” said an official.

On the technology front, the Centre has planned to enhance the surveillance of Maoist-hit areas by drones and more flying hours for Indian Air Force choppers, which are used by the forces for logistical support.

Involving the army in training anti-Maoist units of the states and using India Reserve Battalions for opening roads will also figure in the meeting.