Thursday, April 12, 2007

Chasing naxals on two wheels

Gyan Varma
Thursday, April 12, 2007 23:56 IST


NEW DELHI: Finding it difficult to enter Maoists bastions in Chattisgarh, security forces have come up with an innovative plan: the men in uniform have decided to provide bicycles to counter the anti-vehicle landmines spread across Maoists infested villages.

“Since we cannot use heavy vehicles in these areas because of landmines, we have decided to provide bicycles for our men so that they can cover large areas while patrolling,” said a senior official of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), who is handling anti-Maoists operations in Chattisgarh.

The official added that the 11 battalions present in the state are spread over 66 camps all over Chattisgarh, and each of these camps would get 20 bicycles for the men to use during patrol.

“Our men have to cover at least 20 km while patrolling everyday, and it is difficult to do so without using vehicles. These landmines do not explode even if bicycles go over them,” the source said. He added that several different teams go on patrol during the day and nights, and walking in those difficult terrains is a painstaking process.

“The only mode of transportation in these areas is bicycle,” he said, adding that security men could also use animals, but it would difficult maintain them. “Maintenance of bicycles is not expensive and they can be reused after repairs,” he added.

Chattisgarh is one of the worst Maoists-affected state, where most of the attacks are being carried out on securitymen. Maoists also use bicycles to commute.

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