Bhubaneswar: Having played a key role in the completion of the Gurupriya bridge, the BSF is planning to enhance deployment in the ‘Swabhiman’ area in Maoist-hit Malkangiri district and move up to Chhattisgarh border to target the rebels.
“Completion of Gurupriya bridge was possible due to security cover provided to the construction company. The bridge has given a boost to connectivity to cut-off areas,” said Inspector General of BSF’s Special Operations, Odisha Frontier, Ashwini Kumar Singh.
A new name is given to the cut-off area as ‘Swabhiman Anchal,’ as the area remained encircled by water on three sides after construction of reservoirs at Machhkund in 1960s and Balimela in 1980s. There is no means of communication to the villages other than boat services.
Stating that the BSF, which is deployed in four districts of Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada and Nabarangpur, played a major role in spurring development of the region, he said steps were being taken to ensure that Maoist presence was eliminated soon.
Singh said Maoists were normally concentrated on north ‘Swabhiman’ area and Bejjangiwada forest area of Kalimela in Malkangiri district and Tulisi Reserve Forest, Pottangi and Narayanpatna areas of Koraput district.
“Now the BSF is deployed in southern part of ‘Swabhiman’ area and soon it will be deployed in the depths too, as the Gurupriya bridge is now operational and the fruits of development have started reaching the people,” he said.
“Similarly we have deployed force in Kyang and Kartanpalli areas and will be going up to Chhattisgarh border in near future. In south Koraput, we have forces in Ralegada, Sunki and Peteru and will be moving into the hotbed,” the IG said while briefing on anti-Maoist operations on the eve of the Independence Day.
Deployed first in Odisha in 2010, the BSF was initially confined to road side deployment to maintain the communication routes. After containing Maoist activities in Koraput and Malkangiri towns and semi urban areas, it made inroads to interior areas. Kalimela town which was once one of the Maoist hot bed has been completely sanitised, and the town is now one of the major business centres in Malkangiri, he said.
BSF troops with sophisticated weapons and gadgets are toiling hard round the clock to keep a strict vigil on the newly constructed Gurupriya bridge which has always been under Maoist threat, Singh said. From patrolling in the dead of nights to keeping surveillance through CCTV cameras, BSF troops are in high alert and are taking measures to protect the bridge from any danger from the red rebels. Two camps have been set up by the BSF to guard the bridge which would serve as a lifeline for thousands of people in the remote and inaccessible area of Chitrakonda, he said.
Maoists see the bridge as a threat and have been protesting the construction work from the very beginning. Anti-naxal operations in the district gets a boost with the bridge being made operational, Singh said adding the basic security of the bridge still “rests with us and for this the basic security apparatus is in place.”