Adequate central forces in Maoist-hit areas in Bengal polls: EC

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Kolkata, April 2 (IANS) At least one section of central forces will be deployed in each polling station location of the Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) or Maoist-hit areas in West Bengal where polling will be held on Monday in the the first phase of assembly polls, an Election Commission official said on Saturday.

Of the 18 constituencies – nine in Purulia, three in Bankura and six in West Medinipur – where voters would exercise their franchise, 13 are regarded as Maoist-affected. The polling in these constituencies will end two hours early at 4 p.m.

“At least one section of central forces would be present in every polling station location at LWE areas. In non-LWE areas there would be minimum half section of central forces in each polling station location,” said additional chief Electoral officer Dibyendu Sarkar

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There are 4,203 polling station locations comprising 4,945 booths, out of which 1,962 are critical ones.

Ensuring adequate presence of central forces in each booth, Sarkar said the numbers could go up according to the requirement on polling day.

“Two choppers will carry out sorties and the aerial surveillance will be connected to ground control. Air ambulance will be deployed. Arrangements have been made for anti-mine device and advanced opening party provision as well,” he said.

In addition, Sarkar said multiple layers of security at polling stations would be in action.

“This would be a combination of central force and state agencies,” he said, adding 210 CCTV cameras would be placed for monitoring.

As many as 14 general observers, five expenditure, three police, three awareness and 676 micro observers would be deployed.

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“Licensed arms deposited in the poll going areas of first phase are 8,983. Since election notification, a total of 3,112 non-bailable warrants have been executed. Under Section 107 of CRPC, action has been initiated against as many as 4,303 people,” he said.

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