KOLKATA: After the death of Maoist militrary strategist Koteswar Rao alias Kishneji in last November and its subsequent success in thwarting Maoist movement in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee’s government has chalked out a plan to modernise and upgrade 18 police stations in Maoist-hit Jangalmahal which comprises three districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura.
“We will require Rs 2 crore to modernise and upgrade a police station in Jangalmahal. The Centre has already sanctioned Rs 26 crore for the job. Once upgradation and modernisation of all these police stations will be over, these police stations will be like mini forts and would be able to counter any wildcat attacks by the Maoists or any other separatist forces,” a senior state police official told ET on Monday.
Of these 18 police stations, eight belong to West Midnapore district which was the Maoist free zone a few years back. The police stations include Lalgarh, Sankrail, Jamboni, Salboni, Nayagram, Goaltore, Belpahari and Binpur. In October 2009, the Maoists had kidnapped the then officer-in-charge of Sankrail police station, Atindra Nath Dutta after killing two of his colleagues. The entire armoury of the police station was looted by the Maoists.
But the Silda police station is not in the list of 18 which will be modernised with Centre’s financial assistance. In February 2010, the Maoists had killed 24 EFR jawans at the Silda police station and looted the entire armoury. Silda incident is still now being treated as the most fierce and dreadful operation by the Maoists. But Silda’s name does not figure in the list of those police stations which will get a facelift.
“The Centre has a plan to modernise and upgrade about 400 police stations in the country where Maoists are still active. Of these 400, the Centre has picked up 18 in West Bengal and will include several others in future. We believe Silda will also get financial assistance from the Centre for its upgradation,” the senior state police official said when asked why Silda was not in the list even though the Maoists had carried out most fierce attack on this police station two years back.
Five police stations of Bandwan, Balarampur, Arsa, Jhalda and Baghmundi under Purulia district will also be modernised. In Bankura district which was also a Maoist den, five police stations of Sarenga, Barikul, Ranibandh, Roypur and Taldangra will also be upgraded and modernised.
As per the modernisation plan, all these police stations will be surrounded by eight feet high walls. There will be satellite-linked communication network in all these police stations which will help them to connect with any police stations in the state within seconds in case of any attack by Maoists or any other forces.
All these police stations will have adequate space to accommodate Central force jawans in case of any emergency. West Bengal government had to requisite several school buildings in Jangalmahal to accommodate Central force jawans to combat the Maoists in the past three years. But after modernisation, all these police stations would be able to afford accommodation to jawans from different Central agencies.
There is no plan for Mamata government to depute additional police personnel in these 18 police stations immediately. The government has a plan to depute 10,000 Jangalmahal youths at these police stations. The chief minister had announced that her government will recruit 10,000 youths from Jangalmahal in the state’s police force. The process of recruitment has just started and once it is completed, these youths will be posted in these 18 police stations.