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EC to deploy choppers for polls in Bengal's Maoist areas

Posted on May 06 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, May 5 : Helicopters, with a medical support team onboard, will be pressed into service during the May 7 polls in West Bengal's Maoist-hit Junglemahal region, an Election Commission official said Monday.

The commission has stepped up vigilance in the region, in a bid to ensure peaceful polls in the large forested stretches of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura districts.

Besides choppers, as many as 10 satellite phones will be functional on polling day.

"Two choppers will be available for the three areas May 5-8," Amit Ray Chaudhury, officer on special duty in the chief electoral officer's office, told reporters here.

In addition, polling hours have been reduced in six assembly segments.

As per standard protocols of the ministry of home affairs, bomb disposal squads, road opening party and anti-landmine vehicles will be deployed in the Maoist areas.

Sudhir Kumar Rakesh, special observer for West Bengal, said all measures are being taken to ensure free and fair polls.

As per the commission's directive, central security forces deployment will be decided by special committees in consultation with candidates in the constituencies.

"The district magistrate, superintendent of police, general observer, police observer will prepare a primary list for the district which will be sent to the returning officer.

"The officer will meet the candidates who will prepare a 'worry list'," Chaudhury said.

The list would be analysed by district officials and forwarded to the state-level committee comprising the chief electoral officer, special observer and additional director general of police (law and order), he said.

In booths, where 100 percent central force cannot be provided, special care would be taken with the aid of micro-observer, videography, webcasting and digital cameras.

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