Friday, December 05, 2008

COBRA battalion to be in Koraput to fight Maoists

Kalinga Times Correspondent

Bhubaneswar, Dec 4: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has said that a Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force will be located in Koraput district for anti-naxalite operations.

The state government was in the process of alienating land for establishment of the battalion, Patnaik said while making a statement in connection with the discussion on demand for supplementary grants of Home Department in the state Assembly on Thursday evening.

The Central government had recently announced to raise 10 COBRA battalions during next three years to tackle the growing Maoist threat in different parts of the country. Each COBRA battalion will have around 1000 specially trained personnel.

The Chief Minister, who focussed his statement mainly on strengthening of the police in the state, said that operational control rooms were being set up in Special Operation Group and naxalite affected districts for proper planning and execution of anti-naxalite operations.

The government, Patnaik said, had decided to fortify 115 urban police stations and 305 rural police stations in a phased manner. Out of the above, 142 police station (26 urban police stations and 116 rural police stations) and 42 armouries (33 district armoury and 8 battalion armoury) have already been covered under the fortification scheme, he added.

“Of out the five India Reserve Battalions sanctioned for the state, one is fully functional, two more battalions have been raised and are under training and recruitment for the remaining two battalions is going on,” Patnaik said.

As many as 2100 tribal youth were being appointed as Special Police Officers in the naxal affected districts of Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Gajapati and Kandhamal by relaxing educational and physical standards, and the recruitment process was underway, Patnaik said.

He also said that a massive recruitment drive had been undertaken to fill up vacancies in the civil police, Odisha State Armed Police, Special Operation and India Reserve Battalions to strengthen the police force. The arms and ammunitions of the state police were also being upgraded, he said.

The Opposition MLAs who had earlier criticised the government for its alleged failure to establish the rule of law in the state, however, were not pleased with Patnaik's statement on the issues raised by them during discussion on the issue. They staged a walkout.

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