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Choppers to conduct anti-Naxal operations

Monday, May 06, 2019
By Raju Vernekar

As a sequel to a Naxalite attack in Kurkheda in Gadchiroli in which 15 security personnel attached to the elite force “C 60” and a driver, died on Maharashtra Day, the state government has decided to purchase a special French made helicopter for reconnaissance in Naxal prone areas in the state.

The chopper “H 145” will be purchased from “Airbus”, France, at a cost of Rs 72.43 crore, to carry out regular aerial survey of the Naxal prone areas. For this three pilots from the Directorate of Aviation, Government of Maharashtra will be given rigorous training at Donauworth, Manching, Germany for nearly 75 days (5 June to 14 August 2019).

Those who will be sent for the training include Chief Pilot and Director of Aviation Captain Sanjay Karve, Senior Pilot Captain Mahendra Dalvi and Co-Pilot Captain Mohit Sharma. Speaking to ADC, captain Karve said that they are doing their best to make this mission successful.

The chopper “ H 145” is the latest member of its 4-ton-class twin-engine rotorcraft product range-with designed-in mission capability and flexibility, especially in high and hot operating conditions. Compact in size, this helicopter’s small footprint and large, flexible cabin make it the aircraft of choice for a variety of civil missions. It can accommodate two pilots and 10 other occupants.

At present, the government hires a chopper from “Pawan Hans” and annually bears the cost of Rs 25 crore towards the rent. Hence now it has decided to make this permanent arrangement. Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Gondia are stated to be the Naxal affected districts in Maharashtra. The funds worth Rs 25 crore were given in January this year, to Maharashtra under the Special Central Assistance scheme being implemented to fight the left wing extremism affected districts.

In the meanwhile the state government has decided to give pay to the next of the kin of those died in the Naxal attack on Maharashtra Day, till the age of 58 years of the deceased (on notional basis), Besides, to give job to one person from the deceased’s family, on compassionate ground and also to bear the cost of education till graduation level of the children of the victims. Also, to accord the status of “martyr” to all the 16 personnel (including driver) who died when Maoist insurgents blew up an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

The C-60 was set up as an anti-Naxal force in 1992 by then Gadchiroli SP, KP Raghuvanshi. In recent times, it had a lot of success in making Gadchiroli Naxal free. However, as per the report by the Union home ministry, as many as 12,000 people, including 2700 personnel of the security forces, lost their lives in Maoist violence over the last two decades, in the country. The elimination of Naxal cadres rose by a sharp 65% and the number of extremists surrendering recorded an increase of 185%. At present, 90% of Maoist activity is limited to 35 districts, though they may have a hold over pockets in 68 districts in 10 states.

With a view to combat with Naxalite menace, the Central Government has launched a “National Policy and Action Plan' comprising security, development and ensuring rights and entitlements of the local communities. Under this plan, as many as 307 fortified police stations were constructed in Naxal-hit areas in last three years.

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