Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What’s the strategic location?

Vinay Madhav, TNN 25 November 2009, 03:33am

BANGALORE: Even as terrorists threaten to run amok in the state and Naxals spread their tentacles along the Western Ghats, the state government’s plan to start a commando training school for various wings of the police is caught in bureaucratic crossfire.

Though the government has already sanctioned Rs 6 crore for the project, a dispute over where the school should be located is delaying it. While the police department wants to take over abandoned mining area and infrastructure left behind by the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd (KIOCL) in Chikmagalur district, political bosses think otherwise. The government wants the school in either Shikaripur or Shimoga.

Sources said the government was ready to sanction 10 acres immediately for the project at either place and ready to acquire more if needed. However, the police are rather reluctant, saying KIOCL has ready infrastructure as well as good terrain for training commandos in guerrilla tactics.

SHIMOGA OR SHIKARIPUR

The proposal for Shimoga or Shikaripur cropped up because chief minister B S Yeddyurappa hails from there. Though the money was sanctioned in the last budget, the police are not ready to start building the infrastructure, which would anyway take years. Besides, the terrain is not ideal for commando training.

KUDREMUKH ADVANTAGE

The commando school at Kudremukh was mooted two years ago. The then CoD (now CID) DG Ajai Kumar Singh wrote to the government, seeking permission to take over the entire KIOCL infrastructure.

Kudremukh is a deserted town and all buildings and other infrastructure are intact. Besides, it has a dam, industrial structures and abandoned mines which are handy for training. The terrain is ideal — Kudremukh receives over 600 mm rainfall and is surrounded by hills.

Police officers say since Naxals are spreading their tentacles along the Western Ghats, KIOCL will be a strategic location to check their activities. The department also has plans to shift the Anti-Naxal Force base to Kudremukh, if the commando school is set up there. When contacted, Ajai Kumar Singh declined to comment on the delay.

toiblr.reporter@timesgroup.com

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