Monday, February 4, 2008

Reds gain, cops grapple

Cuttack, Feb. 3: Maoists are expanding their capabilities and operations while police are grappling with shortage of manpower and inferior infrastructure.

This was the summary of the two-day Orissa Senior Police Officers’ Conference, which ended here on Saturday.

Naxalism and the fact that the police are virtually dealing with the rebels on a daily basis in at least eight of the 30 districts in Orissa figured prominently at the conference, which was attended by about 80 IPS officers.

Explaining about the objective of the conference, inspector-general of police Satyajit Mohanty said: “Field officers were allowed to share their experiences and problems so as to take a holistic approach to solve the issues.”

Superintendents of police of the Naxalite-affected districts complained of serious shortcomings in communication facilities. Even the hand-held, battery-operated gadgets are reportedly not functioning properly.

The rebels have evidently spread their operations to Malkangiri, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Dhenkanal and Angul. They have also penetrated major development project areas in Jajpur and Jagatsingpur to foment revolts by taking advantage of displacement and rehabilitation issues, according to reports.

However, director-general of police Gopal Chandra Nanda said Naxalite problem was “under control” in Orissa. “We are facing a little trouble in the southern districts as some areas there are inaccessible. But we will tide over them soon,” Nanda said.

Senior officers discussed the problems with chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who attended the valedictory session of the conference on Saturday. Sources said Naveen promised a hike in homeguards’ budgetary provision and also that at least 40 outposts would be made police stations. He also gave the green signal for 30 more police stations.

The state has 482 police stations but senior officers said they feel there should be at least 1,000.

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