Monday, August 20, 2007

Chhattisgarh For Chopper Surveillance In Maoist Den

Chhattisgarh- where state is waging a war against its own people

Concerned by a surge in Maoist activities, the Chhattisgarh government has issued a tender notice to hire a helicopter for police surveillance in the worst hit Bastar region.'Hiring a 20-seater helicopter is a strategic decision taken by the state government after formal approval of the union home ministry. We cannot afford to allow the extremists to consolidate their bases in thick forested areas where forces cannot reach by road as the area is cordoned off by landmines,' home department sources told IANS.The move is aimed at boosting surveillance in the interiors of Bastar, including the Abujhmad region where guerrillas have reportedly set up war training and explosives manufacturing units.The tender issued Aug 13 says interested parties should submit their proposal within 10 days 'with details of charges per flying hour, minimum flying commitment per month, agreement for stand by helicopter ... and compensation for non-availability of helicopter during urgent operational requirements'.Though the state government has issued the tender notice, the amount spent on the chopper will be reimbursed by the central government, the sources said on condition of anonymity.Chhattisgarh currently has no helicopter facility to keep a watch on Maoists. There are no choppers to even carry leaders and VIPs on official visits after the state's lone helicopter 'Maina' crashed in a hilly region of neighbouring Madhya Pradesh's Balaghat district last month. Maoists hold sway in Chhattisgarh's southern Bastar region where rebels have been running a parallel government in interior areas for decades. The mineral rich state has emerged as the nerve centre of the radicals. In March, Maoists carried one of their biggest attacks on a police camp in Bastar where 55 police personnel were massacred. Last month, rebels killed 24 cops in a mortar attack in the same region.

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