Civic polls: Security up in Red zones

Bhubaneswar: Security has been heightened in the Maoist –infested Malkangiri, Gudari, Gunpur, Kashipur and Rayagada areas to thwart any untoward incident during the urban local body polls on Thursday.
 
Officials said, as many as 11 platoons of CRPF, DVF and SOG jawans have been deployed in the 110 hyper-sensitive booths including 28 in Rayagada and 14 in Gunpur.
 
Additional security arrangements were also being made in the ULBs in southern Odisha where Maoists were having a strong presence, they added. The State Election Commission has identified a total of 561 booths as sensitive and 110 booths as hypersensitive.
 
Officials engaged in the preparedness of security said since a large number of polling booths had been identified as sensitive due to various reasons, necessary steps were being taken to ensure smooth polling.
 
More than 18 lakh voters will cast their votes at 1968 booths in as many as 1103 wards in the 66 urban local bodies, including the Berhampur Municipal Corporation with highest number of 40 wards.
 
A total of 3893 candidates were in the fray in the 66 ULBs going to the polls. Meanwhile, the State Election Commission had taken a series of measures to ensure free and fair poll in all the ULBs. Special squads had been deployed to prevent violation of the model code of conduct.
 
Notably, the election has been stopped in 25 ULBs spread over nine districts in western Odisha after the poll process was affected due to the long-drawn agitation demanding establishment of a permanent High Court bench in the region.