State to raise SOG strength to combat Maoists

Bhubaneswar: With Maoists expanding their network in Odisha, the state government on Friday decided to strengthen the elite anti-Naxal Special Operation Group(SOG) by raising another 35 units and a CISF-like force, besides filling vacant posts of officers.

This was decided at a meeting of the home department chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, official sources said.

"Besides strengthening SOG, we have also sought more jawans from the central para-military force(CPMF)," Home Secretary U N Behera told reporters after the meeting.

SOG now has 50 units and another 35 units would be added to increase its strength, he said.

The state government also decided to raise a special State Industrial Security Force along the lines of CISF. "The crime branch of police, which had been dealing with important crimes, would now have an economic offence wing," he said.

Besides, 788 vacant posts of police officers and about 5,200 posts of constables would be filled this year.

Behera said the government has also decided to regularise the service of the special police officers who have completed three years in service.

At least 12 battalions of CPMF are now deployed in the state while two more battalions could arrive here soon, the sources said.