Friday, April 17, 2009

West Bengal is all set to meet Maoist threat to polls

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: In the wake of Maoist attacks during the first phase of polling on April 16, West Bengal on Friday announced measures to step up security and provide additional protection for polling personnel in the sensitive areas in the Maoist belt. Aerial surveillance is planned.

Chief Electoral Officer Debashis Sen announced the doubling of the compensation amount in the event of loss of life for polling personnel in the Maoist areas to Rs. 10 lakh. Flag marches would start from April 22 in the three affected districts of Purulia, Paschim Medinipur and Bankura.

Security personnel would visit houses to assure security to people and to encourage them come out and vote without fear.

Border vigil

Police deployment would be made in such a way that commando forces could be moved to any area at short notice. Vigilance had been stepped up along State borders in these districts. Meetings were proposed to coordinate security measures with the neighbouring States.

A company of paramilitary forces would be posted and adequate lighting arrangements made where the polling personnel would camp in the troubled areas.

Polling will be completed by 3 p.m. at six Assembly centres that are considered very sensitive: Jhargram, Binpur and Bandwan in the Jhargram constituency, and Balarampur, Bagmundi and Jaipur in the Purulia Lok Sabha constituency. Polling here is on April 30, in the first phase of polling in West Bengal.


State government officials who met on Thursday to discuss additional measures decided to ask the Centre for 40 more companies of forces, to be deployed on priority basis in these areas and in North Bengal.

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