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With an aim for effective counter-insurgency operations against Maoist in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas, as many as 20 helipads with night landing facility have been built in three states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha and more will come up within a few more months, CRPF officials said.
Noting that helicopters are an important component in anti-Maoist operations, the officials of the paramilitary force said that the air evacuations of the injured becomes the most important task when the operations against the ultras begin.
Giving details, they further said that 13 such helipads have been built in different parts of Chhattisgarh so far, four in Odisha and three in Jharkhand and all are operative now.
A senior official in the security set-up in Chhattisgarh said that the helipads with night landing facility are now considered as a force multiplier and in case of injury, the security personnel can be evacuated to the nearest city hospital for better medical management.
When the security personnel is assured that he will be quickly evacuated from the encounter areas in case of injury, his morale gets boosted, a commandant level officer said.
He also said that some times, reinforcements are also needed but because of night, sometimes they only reaches by the next morning which provides enough window to the Maoists to escape back into the forests.
The officials also said that all these helipads are fitted with sensors and infrared enabled features which automatically guide the chopper when it is approaching. The helicopters are also fitted with the same type of sensors that help in recognising the landing ground.
They also said that the pilots of these choppers are well trained for night landing facilities and they are given night vision goggles to see in the dark.
The CRPF officials also said that more helipads are planned in other Maoist-affected areas like Telangana, and Maharashtra as well as these three states.