The central paramilitary forces (CMPF) will rely heavily on technology and sniffer dogs to supplement its 87,000 odd personnel drafted for conducting peaceful polls in Bihar.
For the first time in the history of India, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), called Netras (eyes), will be used for security surveillance during elections. Satellite trackers, satellite phones and a new breed of sniffer dogs — Malinois, which are Belgian Shepherd — will also be used in Maoist-affected areas of the state.
Watch: Paramilitary forces to use UAVs during Bihar elections
“We have already got three UAVs and will get three more shortly,” CRPF inspector general of police Arun Kumar, who is also the state coordinator for CPMF, told HT.
The Netras will essentially be used in hilly and inaccessible terrains, forest and riverine areas to mark out precisely hideouts of insurgents. The Netras, which are equipped with high-resolution camera, will capture images and help plot coordinates on satellite imagery.
Kumar said the Netras would be used in core Maoist areas of Jamui, Gaya, Aurangabad, Nawada, Banka, Lakhisarai and Munger. Given the sensitivity and threat perception, the seven districts have been classified under category A.
Watch: How drones will monitor Bihar polls
The CPMF will also use satellite trackers, which are GPS device, for tracking the movement of its personnel. These would be especially helpful in communication shadow areas, like dense forests, which do not have mobile penetration.
“In case of an encounter in any such area, it will be possible for us to plot the coordinates of our team and rush reinforcement and assistance. The UAVs will also be extensively used in such areas,” added Kumar.
The CPMF has already put in place 17 satellite phones and 21 Digital Satellite Phone Terminal (DSPT) with its teams positioned in Maoist-affected areas. While satellite phones are handy and mobile, the DSPT are fixed terminal (phones), having satellite dish and solar panels as accompaniment.
Kumar also said that 40 sniffer dog squads would be used to help in sniffing out improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and for launching counter-offensive against the Maoists. Each squad will have a dog, a trainer and an assistant trainer.
Twenty-two of the 38 districts in Bihar are Maoist hit. The first two phases of polls on October 12 and 16, would be most challenging for the CPMF, as it covers all the seven districts classified under category A.
Seven security personnel were killed in 2009, five in 2014 and nine in the last assembly elections in 2010.