Tuesday, February 09, 2010

For Chidambaram, old hand Narayanan comes in handy

Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay Posted online: Wednesday, Feb 10, 2010 at 0225 hrs

Kolkata : Union Home Minister P Chidambaram was today closeted with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Governor M K Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan for about 35 minutes. No other aide was present there.
The meeting took place after the lunch hosted by Narayanan for the chief ministers attending today’s meeting on the Naxalite problem was over. Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik and two deputy chief ministers of Jharkhand, Sudesh Mahato and Rajbar Das, were not present at the meeting at Raj Bhavan.

After taking over as Governor on January 24, Narayanan had said as a former National Security Adviser, he would offer his advice to the state government on security issues.

Meanwhile, at today’s meeting chaired by Chidambaram, it was agreed upon that a “pincer operation” will be launched along the borders of neighbouring states of West Bengal affected by the Naxalite menace.

“There will be pincer operation launched from two states, maybe West Bengal and Jharkhand or West Bengal and Orissa. It could be Bihar and Jharkhand. These will be concerted and synchronised operations to flush out the ultras. For this, all the states have asked for more forces. The Centre will now work out on the modalities and get back to us,” a senior state government official said, adding dates will be decided once the Centre meets the demand for extra forces.

While the Centre has promised six companies of central paramilitary forces that it took away from Lalgarh for Jharkhand elections, the West Bengal government has asked for 10 more companies.

The state government has also asked for helicopters from the Centre that can fly into enemy zones and take pictures of the camps. “These helicopters can fly for 3-4 hours at stretch and can be used in case of evacuation when an offensive is launched,” DGP Bhupinder Singh said.

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