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CM to take blast road

July 13: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will take the same road to West Midnapore’s Salboni tomorrow on which Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s convoy had escaped an explosion six years ago.

Bhattacharjee was returning after laying the foundation for a Jindal steel plant in Salboni on November 2, 2008, when a bomb, allegedly planted by Maoists, went off minutes after his convoy passed the spot.

Then Union steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan and his deputy Jitin Prasada, who were behind Bhattacharjee, also escaped unhurt.

Although Maoist activity is said to have subsided since the death of Kishan in 2011, West Midnapore police are taking no chances.

Around 2,000 policemen have been deployed along the 15km NH60 stretch that Mamata will pass for the first time as chief minister.

“We cannot take chances. Buddhababu’s convoy escaped an explosion on this very stretch while he was returning to Midnapore town,” a senior police officer said.

Mamata will tomorrow inaugurate a cement factory in Salboni at 1.30pm. After that, she will address a Trinamul rally close by.

“The chief minister will also hold an administrative meeting later in the day with senior officials from the district as well from Nabanna,” a district official said today.

According to police sources, all roads leading to Salboni were being patrolled since this morning.

“We are also combing the area with metal detectors, particularly the two bridges and a dozen culverts along NH60. Two sniffer dogs from the Railway Protection Force in Kharagpur have been brought to scan the rally ground as well as the venue of the inauguration at Godapiyasal,” the official said.

After her administrative meeting in Midnapore town, the chief minister will visit East Midnapore, where she will hold a rally and an administrative meeting in Kolaghat on Tuesday.

The chief minister will stay the night at Kolaghat Thermal Power Plant guesthouse.

Sources in Nabanna said around 25 secretaries of various departments would be present in the administrative meetings.

Among those present will be chief secretary Sanjay Mitra, home secretary Basudeb Banerjee, and director- general of state police G.M.P. Reddy, the sources added.