Odisha asks police to remain alert in border dists

Bhubaneswar: In a wake-up call, two days after the deadliest Naxalite attack in Sukma district of Chhatisgarh that left 27 dead and 31 others injured, the State government on Monday directed the police chiefs of all bordering districts to remain alert.

The directive came following the review of state border security by the home department.

“We have asked all respective police chiefs and other senior officials of bordering districts to remain alert,” Home Secretary Upendranath Behera said.

Besides, the government has also decided to apprise afresh the legislators and parliamentarians about the security guidelines they need to follow while traversing Naxalite-infested areas of the State.

“They (MPs and MLAs) will be asked to strictly adhere to the security guidelines,” added Behera.

Of 30 districts, as many as thirteen share border with four neighbouring states.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday declared an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to next of the kin of two each belonging to Nabrangpur district who were among the victims of the Naxalite attack.

The CM has directed the district administration to disburse the amount today itself.

A section of Congress MLAs belonging to border districts, however, said they were not provided with adequate security during visits to remote areas. "We demand adequate security while touring remote areas. While ruling BJD leaders are given proper security, no such arrangement is made in case of Congress and BJP MLAs and MPs," alleged senior Congress MLA Santosh Singh Sakluja.

Saluja said they apprehend danger from red rebels as people's Representatives would frequent remote areas in view of the coming general elections in the state.

"Legislators of opposition parties including BJP are not being provided with required security in naxal-prone areas," said suspended BJP MLA Bhimmsen Choudhury.

Appreciating the concerns expressed by the MLAs, Behera said the people's representatives would be asked to strictly follow the guidelines for them while visiting remote and naxal hit areas. He said the state already has a standard operating procedure (SOP) guideline for the law makers.

MPs and MLAs will be suggested to strictly adhere to the security guidelines, added Behera.
(With agency inputs)