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CRPF to move out of schools by Jan. 9

Ranchi, Dec. 21: Twenty temporary CRPF camps operating out of government schools and hostels in rural areas of the state will be vacated by January 9, 2011.

The move follows a letter from the Union home ministry to the CRPF brass in Ranchi to this effect. “This is according to a Supreme Court directive. We have started planning relocation of forces,” CRPF inspector general Alok Raj told The Telegraph.

The Union ministry has even asked the CRPF bosses to opt for unilateral withdrawal of forces from the schools/hostels if the state government is unable to provide alternative accommodation or permanent camps meant to house CRPF personnel are still under construction. In these circumstances, the companies would be shifted to their respective battalion headquarters.

While the battalion headquarters of different units of CRPF are located in Ranchi, Daltonganj, Chakradharpur, Chaibasa, Jamshedpur, Khunti, Seraikela-Kharsawan, Latehar, Garhwa, Chatra, Bokaro and Hazaribagh, many permanent camps are being built in rebel affected districts with security related expenditure (SRE) funds of the Centre.

According to CRPF officers, if the permanent camps were not ready on time, ongoing operations against Maoists in rural hinterlands would suffer a setback.

A top CRPF officer, requesting anonymity, said the Naxalites might try to regain lost territory in such areas. “The villagers will be the ultimate sufferers under these circumstances,” he warned, adding that in many places, construction of permanent camps to house CRPF companies was far from over and progressing very slowly.

Superintendents of police of districts where CRPF camps/battalions are located, were allotted funds under SRE to build the permanent camps a couple of years ago.

The permanent camps are coming up in East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan, among other extremist affected districts.

CRPF deputy inspector general Bhanu Pratap Singh, who is in charge of entire Kolhan region, said the existing camps are situated in tactical positions. “The construction of permanent camps in vicinity of existing camps will be of great help. Moving to distantly located battalion headquarters will have a negative effect on operations,” Singh said, adding that the state administration should focus on building such camps at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the headquarters of CRPF’s 11th battalion in Salgadih (Tamar) where it was functioning from a newly-built Industrial Training Institute (ITI) building, has also been shifted to Latehar.

The ITI is to be developed jointly by the steel major Tata Steel and state government on a PPP mode. The stalled project will now see light of the day.

The battalion had moved to Tamar last year from Tripura just before the state launched a major offensive against the outlawed rebel groups, particularly CPI (Maoist), as a part of Operation Green Hunt.

Another battalion (172) of CRPF is also to be stationed in Jharkhand. The battalion, which is presently on duty in the state for panchayat elections, would have headquarters either at Palamau or Garhwa, said Alok Raj.

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