All security personnel deployed for Tuesday's polling in Jangalmahal will be sporting their blood group next to their name tag on their uniform. Strange as this may sound, the special directive acquires significance since the authorities are taking no chances with the possibility of violence that could erupt in the Maoist belt, which have witnessed large-scale killings in the past.
The district health administrations in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia have also appealed to the security forces to donate blood if the need arises. Most of the state-run blood banks in the three districts are virtually running dry because of the inadequate number of voluntary blood donation (VBC) camps. VBC programmes have been the worst-hit because of the cricket World Cup and the Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations, as well as the assembly elections.
"We fear that there may be a crisis with regard to the availability of blood if any kind of Maoist-sponsored subversive activities take place during the elections on Tuesday. In that case, we'll ask the security personnel to donate blood. We’ve discussed the issue with the district police superintendent," Dr Sabitendra Patra, chief medical officer of health (CMOH), West Midnapore district, said.