Paramilitary set to expand presence in Naxalite zone

VIZIANAGARAM: In a renewed bid to flush out Maoists from the Andhra-Orissa Border (AOB), the government is hurrying with the setting up of paramilitary and Special Forces bases in north coastal districts. Border Security Force (BSF) is already setting up a base in Srikakulam with Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) having selected Anandapuram in Viskhapatnam for its camp. Now, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is planning to set up a regional base at Vizianagaram district’s Kottavalasa mandal.

The CRPF brass has worked out a plan to establish a base which would accommodate a battalion of more than 1,000 personnel. District revenue officials and CRPF authorities have conducted a survey at Relli and other villages in Kottavalasa for the proposed base. Sources said that the district collector has agreed to allot 80 acres to the paramilitary force for setting up a base. It was learnt that there is also a proposal for the Centre to offer training to youth who wish to join CRPF. “We have sufficient funds to bring up the base at Kottavalasa,” Ganeswara Rao, CRPF deputy commandant, said.

The district has two companies of CRPF posted at the Elwinpet and Makkuva police stations which are situated in Maoist-infested areas. The paramilitary force also has seven companies stationed in Visakhapatnam district. It is the CRPF which has the highest deployment in anti-Maoist operations in various parts of the country and the paramilitary force has completed nearly a decade in the three north coastal Andhra districts.

The state government has already acquired 200 acres of land at Mukundapuram and Pekeru villages near Ananadapuram, 20km from Visakhapatnam, for the new IRB battalion. Sources said that the IRB base would have training and residential facilities for over 1,000 jawans.

The BSF, which was pressed into action in combing operations on the Orissa border, has plans to set up a big base camp in Srikakulam. Authorities have sought 90 acres and are looking to identify the land in Sarubujjili, Burja and Etcherla mandals to set up the base camp.

Sources said that since Maoists have a strong presence on the border in general and in Orissa’s Malkangiri, Koraput and Rayagda districts in particular, the government wants to add teeth in its fight against the rebels. “The idea behind setting up three regional bases, of CRPF, BSF and IRB, in the three north coastal districts is to flush out Maoists form the AOB with the help of special police and the AP Greyhounds,” a top police official said.

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