EC directs Odisha govt to seal adjoining borders with poll-bound Chhattisgarh

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the two-phased Assembly election in Chhattisgarh, the Election Commission has directed Odisha government to seal the border between both the states.

The move is aimed to prevent possible Maoist activities, smuggling of liquor, ganja and infiltration of black money which might affect the elections in the neighbouring state.

Chief Electoral Officer of Odisha Surendra Kumar said, “The state government has been told to seal its border with Chhattisgarh in order to ensure free and fair elections in the state.”

After EC’s order, the Odisha government has asked the authorities of eight districts- Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Bargarh, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh bordering Chhattisgarh to conduct frisking in border areas. Directives have been issued to keep an eye on possible smuggling of liquor, ganja and infiltration of black money.

On November 5, Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat and the two election commissioners of the states addressed senior Odisha government officials in a video conference, which was attended by district magistrates of these eight districts.

The poll watchdog has also asked the state government to keep an eye on the movement of Maoists especially on the backdrop of recent attack on security personnel during which two officials and a media person from Odisha, Achyutananda Sahu was killed.

On November 12, elections will be held in 12 Maoist-affectedconstituencies of Chhattisgarh followed by second phase elections for 78 assembly seats on November 20.

“As per the direction of SP, strict checking of vehicles and patrolling will be continued till the completion of election in Chhattisgarh. Our motive is to track any kind of Maoist movement or any kind of suspicious anti-social activities,” Bidyut Panda, SDPO of Nuapada district said.

Similarly, Ram Khilaban Verma, Tehsildar of Bagbahara in Chhattisgarh said at present various check posts have been installed and intensity of monitoring has been heightened at major highways passing between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.