State to give regular appointment to SPOs

Bhubaneswar: The Supreme Court order on appointment of Special Police Officers (SPOs) in neighbouring Chhatisgarh was being examined by the state government which would give regular appointment to them.

"The court order may not be applicable for the state. The method of recruitment and engagement of SPOs in Orissa is totally different from Chhattishgarh," Chief Secretary B K Patnaik said on Thursday.

SPOs appointed in tribal-dominated districts of the state did not directly confront Maoists and would be taken as regular constables after completion of a three-year tenure, he said.

The youths appointed as SPOs in tribal areas received an opportunity to remain in mainstream instead of joining the Maoist brigade, he said.

As many as 4,500 youths have so far been appointed as SPOs in the state and the government was not averse to recruit more, a home department official said.

Coming down heavily on the practice of deploying vigilante groups like Salwa Judum in the fight against Maoists, the apex court earlier this month asked the Centre and the Chhattisgarh government to desist from arming tribals in the name of SPOs.