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Orissa now ready to take on Maoists: Home Secy

Bhubaneswar: Fuelled with "adequate force" and enthused by the elimination of at least 14 rebels in a span of 10 days, Orissa government on Monday said it was now ready to prevent Maoist attacks and take on ultras in jungles and hideouts.

Orissa Home Secretary U N Behera said the state now could successfully prevent Maoist attacks as it had "adequate force comprising five battalions of BSF and seven battalions of CRPF besides its elite anti-Maoist Special Operation Group (SOG)."

While one battalion force comprises 540 personnel, one unit of SOG has 30 members. About 50 units of SOG were engaged in anti-Maoist operation in the state, officials said.

The Home Secretary described yesterday`s encounter in Badangmali area of Rayagada district in which nine ultras, including four women, were killed as an "intelligence based operation," and said the state has developed intelligence network to track ultras movements.

"We expect recovery of more bodies from jungles in Badangmali area of Rayagada district," Deputy Inspector General of Police (south-western), Soumendra Priyadarshi said.

"We have recovered about half-a-truck load of arms and ammunition including INSAS rifles from Maoist hideouts in Rayagada where search is on for more bodies," the DIG said.

One of the ultras killed in Rayagada was identified as D Srinivas Rao alias Ramesh, considered as `guru` of Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda. Andhra Pradesh government had announced Rs 3 lakh reward on Ravi, he said.

Ravi was heading Kashipur Dalam of the out-lawed CPI (Maoist) in Orissa, Behera said.

Five ultras including, four women were, gunned down at Tamka in Jajpur district on January 2 in an encounter with security personnel.

Around a dozen of them, including five teenage girls, have, meanwhile, surrendered before the police expressing their desire to return to the mainstream, he said.

Orissa government feels implementation of integrated action plan in 15 Maoist-hit and backward areas have started paying dividend. About Rs 850 crore would be spent on these developmental works in next two years, the Home Secretary said.

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