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3 states meet on polls

Guwahati, Jan. 24: Assam today told Tripura that it could only partially meet its “huge” vehicular requirement for the movement of security personnel in the state because of the ensuing panchayat elections. This was conveyed to Tripura government officials at a meeting convened by the Assam chief secretary, N.K. Das, here today to discuss the logistical help required by Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland for the smooth conduct of the polls.

Tripura goes to the polls on February 14 while the other two states will vote on February 23.

Sources also said Assam has extended all “possible” help to all the three states to transport “man and machines” but Dispur also expressed helplessness to completely meet Tripura’s request for 200 buses, 200 trucks and 150 light motor vehicles to ferry 166 companies of additional CPMF personnel for election duty after their arrival by train in Guwahati.

Tripura has been allotted 200 companies of CPMF for smooth conduct of the polls, of which 33 have already reached the state, sources here said.

Sources said Tripura subsequently scaled down its demand to 100 LMVs, 100 trucks and 50 buses, given Assam’s “genuine” problem, besides deciding to secure help from bus and truck owners from West Bengal districts bordering Assam to cope with the crisis.

Dispur later facilitated a meeting between Tripura officials and bus and truck owners associations to work out the details at the former’s behest. “It was difficult to meet their demand as we, too, have panchayat polls, which will also be a massive affair involving 21 districts,” an Assam government official said.

All the three states share borders with Assam and everything arriving from outside the region has to pass through Assam to reach them. Besides the Meghalaya chief secretary, officials from the home department and the nodal officers of all three states attended today’s meeting.

Sources said Dispur was not facing any problem with the other two states, because by that time Assam would be through with its three-phase panchayat polls being held on January 30, February 6 and February 12.

 


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