Ranchi, Oct. 29: The state government is mounting a serious effort to create adequate police infrastructure to help security forces battle Maoists and their factions in troubled districts, especially former rebel hub of Saranda where a massive development initiative is in progress.
Helipads and state-of-the art permanent barracks for CRPF are being planned in the forests of West Singhbhum and rebel strongholds, including Chatra, Latehar, Gumla, Garhwa and Bokaro.
The multi-crore projects will be executed under Centre-sponsored SIS (scheme for special infrastructure) aimed to plug critical gaps in facilities across what are officially called LWE (Left wing extremism) affected states.
In the first week of October, Jharkhand Police Housing Corporation Limited (JPHC) invited bids to set up 25-bed barracks for the CRPF in various areas of West Singhbhum, including Suddlegate and Jambaiburu (Kiriburu police station), Thalkobad (Chotanagra police station), Digha (Jeraikela police station) and a 40-bed barracks in the battalion headquarters of CRPF in Kotsona (Chaibasa).
Helipads will also come up in strategically important areas like Barwadih in Latehar, Ranka in Garhwa, Jhumra in Bokaro and Pratappur in Chatra (see chart).
While builders will be given a two-month deadline to put up helipads, a 25-bed barracks will have to be readied in six months.
“The last date to receive tenders for the projects concerned was October 20. We have received good numbers of bids. We are now evaluating their technical part before taking a final decision to award the contract to eligible contractors in a matter of days,” JPHC chief engineer S.R. Sinha said, citing the state government holiday during Durga Puja as the reason behind the delay.
Despite the festive hangover, the urgency, for once, seems real.
Inspector-general (provisions) R.K. Mallick said the latest efforts were in line with the state police headquarters’ intentions to provide better infrastructure for the men who were fighting Naxalites and other rebel factions. “More infrastructure will be created in the near future,” he added.
In Saranda, a former rebel bastion, CRPF companies were functioning out of tents with asbestos roofs that have been put up in the jungles. Inadequate security apart, the jawans are also exposed to mosquitoes that make them vulnerable to diseases like malaria and dengue.
The police housing corporation has also invited bids to give a facelift to Jungle Warfare School, Netarhat in Latehar district. There are plans to construct training hostels, residences for mid-level police officers and a kitchen plaza.
On October 18, Union home secretary R.K. Singh convened a meeting on security and development in Naxalite-hit states, including Jharkhand. During the meeting, it emerged that Planning Commission had agreed on a Rs 80-crore grant to build infrastructure for Jharkhand Jaguar, a special task force set up to fight Maoists.
This apart, the state has also been promised two additional CRPF battalions to be posted along Chhattisgarh border and in strategic districts.