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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Choppers, battalions to Chhattisgarh to fight insurgency

PTI  New Delhi, June 09, 2014
First Published: 20:50 IST(9/6/2014) | Last Updated: 22:15 IST(9/6/2014)

Making it clear that Maoist insurgency will be dealt with an iron hand, government on Monday agreed to use helicopter for troops' deployment in conflict situations and favoured increasing the chopper strength for Naxal-hit areas.

At a high-level meeting chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh, it was also decided to provide multi-skilled 2,000 personnel for carrying out development work in Chhattisgarh which has been worst-hit by Naxal violence.

During the meeting, which was attended by Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and top home ministry officials, Union home secretary Anil Goswami gave a presentation during which he informed that four helicopters were being used for rescue operations or troops in conflict situations.

The state government requested the Centre to use helicopters for troops' deployment or sending reinforcement when an encounter is on, which was agreed to, official sources said.

It was agreed in principle by the home ministry to increase the number of helicopters to six subject to approval by the defence ministry, they said.

Facing shortage of contractors for carrying out development work in Naxal-hit areas, the chief minister sought the Centre's help in providing nearly 2,000 multi-skilled personnel having technical knowledge.

"Two technical battalions (about 2,000 men) comprising engineers have been sought for construction projects in Chhattisgarh," Raman Singh told reporters in New Delhi after the two-hour meeting.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) had been involved in various projects in Chhattisgarh till 2010. However, it started withdrawing after the then UPA government decided to strengthen road network along India-China border for which BRO is the first choice.

The Centre had recently cleared additional 10 battalions (about 10,000 personnel) for maintaining law and order in the state.


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