104 companies of CAPF to guard as Odisha begins poll march

Of 7,298 polling stations designated for the fourth phase of polls on Monday, around 537 are affected by left wing extremism.
DGP Arun Sarangi briefing mediapersons on poll arrangements on Saturday
DGP Arun Sarangi briefing mediapersons on poll arrangements on Saturday Photo | Express

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha police deployed a whopping 17,000 police personnel ahead of the first phase of elections which comprises four Parliamentary constituencies comprising a large chunk of left wing extremism (LWE) affected districts.

Of 7,298 polling stations designated for the fourth phase of polls on Monday, around 537 are affected by LWE.

“A total of 17,000 police personnel of different ranks have been deployed for the fourth phase of polls. The deployment includes 104 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and 66 platoons of State Armed Police (SAP),” DGP, Arun Kumar Sarangi told mediapersons on Sunday.

Out of eight districts going to polls on Monday, six districts - Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Nuapada and Kalahandi are affected by LWE. To ensure the elections passes off smoothly in these places, 138 parties of CAPF and 37 units of Special Operations Group (SOG) and District Voluntary Force (DVF) have been deployed to carry out area domination exercises and provide security at the polling booths and its staff, said Sarangi.

ADG (Operations) Dev Datta Singh is camping in Kalahandi to monitor anti-Naxal operations during elections. To provide quick response in case of an emergency, Election Commission of India (ECI) has provided one dedicated helicopter to Odisha Police to airdrop the security personnel.

Sources said officials of seven polling booths located in inaccessible areas of Nuapada were dispatched in the helicopter on Sunday.

Voting will take place in Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Berhampur Lok Sabha seats and 28 Assembly constituencies spread across eight districts of Odisha in the fourth phase of polls on Monday.

As some of the districts are in the bordering areas of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, police have set up 51 inter-state border check posts equipped with CCTV cameras and 50 intra-state border check posts to track movement of unscrupulous elements and transportation of illegal goods.

Police have also identified 879 communication shadow locations in the state where there is no mobile phone connectivity. To remove this security vacuum, the security personnel have been equipped with VHF sets and motorcycles to ensure unhindered dissemination of information in case of any emergency during elections.

Sources said electronic voting machine (EVM) strong rooms set up in 15 places are being guarded 24x7 by CAPF and SAP. About 29 Additional SP rank officers, 57 DSPs, 154 inspectors, 1,457 sub-inspectors/assistant sub-inspectors, 6,639 havildars and constables, 5,581 home guards and gram rakhis, 600 mobile parties, 210 flying squads and 195 static surveillance teams have been deployed to maintain law and order situation in fourth phase of the polls.

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