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State nod for bomb squad in Alipurduar

Alipurduar, May 8: The state government has sanctioned a bomb disposal squad that would be posted at Alipurduar and cater for the entire subdivision.

Sources said the squad, the second one in north Bengal after Siliguri, would start functioning soon.

“We had impressed upon the state government to sanction a bomb disposal squad in Alipurduar. The government has sanctioned it and it will start working soon,” said Akash Magharia, the additional superintendent of police, Alipurduar.

The squad was a long-standing demand as Kumargram in Alipurduar subdivision is known as a KLO hot bed and the subdivision has seen at least two blasts last year.

According to a police officer, there would be four-five persons in the Alipurduar squad along with sniffer dog and all necessary equipment like defusal sticks, x-ray machines, scanners, safety jackets.

Alipurduar subdivision is contiguous to Assam and Bhutan and the recovery of suspicious objects in the area is common. Every time a suspicious object is found, the CID bomb disposal squad in Siliguri has to be called.

Siliguri is 170km from Alipurdar town and it takes at least three hours to cover the distance.

On August 9, 2013, a bomb exploded inside a parked private bus in front of a hotel at Barobisha, 4km from the Assam border.

The vehicle had come from Assam.

The explosion took place around 11.30am but the squad from Siliguri reached at 4.55pm.

On August 29, last year a bomb was spotted in Alipurduar’s Chowpathi area around 4am. The CID squad reached the spot around 10.30am.

A bomb squad member who tried to defuse it without wearing a life jacket died when the explosive went off.

On March 18, 2008, three people were killed and eight injured in a blast at Chowpathi.

At times, the Alipurduar police have to take help from the Air Force or the BSF bomb disposal squad to defuse explosives found in the region.

Sniffer dogs of the RPF in Alipurduar Junction station are also brought in for inspecting suspicious objects spotted in the subdivision.