Chattisgarh planning to use IAF UAVs

Raipur: The Chhattisgarh government is planning to use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) of the Indian Air Force to conduct reconnaissance of naxal-hit areas even as security forces are mulling entering the Maoist stronghold of Abujhmad — an unexplored jungle area in Bastar.

"We are in talks with the IAF to get the help of their different variants of UAVs which can fly over the naxal-hit areas in the state and provide us surveillance of the ground.

The IAF has it`s UAVs presently at Nagpur and we plan to use them from a base in Jagdalpur," Director General of Police (DGP) Vishwa Ranjan told PTI.

Abujhmad, a densely forested area in state`s southern part in Bastar has an area of around 7,000 square kilometres and is considered to be the headquarters of the naxals. The area is also inhabited by tribals and the government machinery has hardly reached this area.

"The renewed effort is to push out naxalites in Abujhmarh by conducting joint operations with central forces like CRPF and BSF," Ranjan said.

The state government is also imparting jungle warfare training to an increasing number of policemen to help them undertake such special operations with the help of central security forces.

We are sending our officers and personnel to train at the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare (CTJW) college located at Kanker. Almost three to four thousand personnel are being recruited and simultaneously inducted into Chhattisgarh police per year, he said.

The last such co-ordinated operation was undertaken in 1996 at Abujhmarh. Since then no central force or police unit has established its post there.

Brigadier (retd) B K Ponwar, who is the Director of the CTJW, separately said the state policemen are trained in conditions and terrain similar to Abujhmad and a good number of such policemen are all prepared to undertake special operations.

"My motto to these policemen is that fight a guerrilla like a guerrilla. The policemen here are trained to develop themselves as fearless and sharp commandos. They should respond to any challenge or attack from naxalites with a quick reflex and accurate firepower," Ponwar said.

Ponwar has single-handedly trained more than 16000 police and central forces` personnel at his college.

The college was set-up by the state government six years ago to cater exclusively to the training of police personnel who undertake anti-naxal operations and is the only institution of its kind in the country.

Ranjan, the police chief of the 53,000-personnel strong force, said efforts to detect deep hidden landmines are under progress. These landmines have been the cause of death of the maximum number of police forces in the state.

"An anti-mine vehicle manufactured by a Israeli firm may soon carry out tests to detect land mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), stealthy put under the ground. It is a robotic vehicle which works on cat-scan principle and costs about Rs 20 crore," he said.