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BSF jawans ready for anti-Maoist operation: DG

Bhubaneswar: Border Security Force (BSF) jawans posted in Orissa`s worst naxal-hit areas were high on morale and ready to take on left wing extremists (LWEs), BSF Director General (DG) Raman Srivastav said on Monday. 

Srivastav, who met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and state Chief Secretary B K Patnaik here, said they had been working out on certain issues relating to coordination and other matters with the Orissa police.

"BSF jawans are in good shape. They are fit and ready for operation. Their morale is high", the BSF chief told reporters about his visit to certain forces` camps in Malkangiri and Koraput districts yesterday.

Besides holding discussion with the state DGP M Praharaj, Srivastav spoke to jawans in the field yesterday.

Pointing out that the entire objective of posting central forces in Orissa and Chhatishgarh is to facilitate development works, Srivastava pointed out that development works were being held up in certain places due to lack of presence of security forces.

"Now that we are there in the affected areas, development works like road repair, construction of bridges, hospitals and re-functioning of market places will start," he said.

This apart, the BSF were also involved in civic activities like holding medical camps, sports activities with the villagers.

"The villagers are now feeling happy that there is governance. Now they are coming forward to help us in so many things. We are satisfied," Srivastav said.

Replying a question, he said if required BSF would not hesitate to increase number of its units in the Maoist-hit pockets of the state.

"Our presence in certain area is certainly enough to ensure that development takes places," he said.

The state government requested the BSF chief to help it in construction of two mega bridges in the Maoist zone of Malkangiri.

Though the state government had been trying to set up two bridges at Janbai and Gurupriya in Malkangiri, the work could not be started due to disruption by rebels.

"We have been trying to set up two bridges for last 15 years. But contractors are not ready to work due to Maoist fear," a senior official in the state`s works department said.

The BSF jawans need to be deployed at the site as the rebels used to disrupt all attempts for construction of two bridges, he pointed out.

The issue was raised at the meeting between the BSF chief and the state chief secretary. "The former has agreed to provide support for any development activities," the official said.

There were five battalions (one battalion comprises 540 personnel) of BSF force in the state. While three battalions were deployed in Malkangiri, rest two battalions had been stationed in Koraput district, Home Secretary U N Behera said.

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