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|September 30, 1999||
IAF choppers pressed into duty in Tripura
Air Force helicopters have been pressed into service in Tripura from today to supervise counter-insurgency operations, movement of security personnel and polling personnel as part of the state government's efforts to conduct free and fair polls to the two Lok Sabha constituencies on October 3.
The state director general of police K T D Singh said the two choppers would be operational till October 4.
The state government had been making foolproof security arrangements for peaceful polling in state, Singh said. Chief secretary V Thulasidas and the DGP had visited all the sub-divisions in the state to supervise the security arrangements for the polls.
The Border Security Force had been asked to tighten their vigil along the 856-km long Indo-Bangla border with Tripura to prevent cross-border movement of the militants and unauthorised persons, the DGP said.
A senior official of the state election department said the first batch of polling personnel left for their destinations today in the interior areas of Dhalai district. Paramilitary personnel escorted these polling personnel, who have to walk more than 30 km and use country boats to reach their respective polling stations. Over 16,000 polling personnel would be appointed to conduct the election in the state.
Considering the possibility of militants' activities, 587 of the total of 2,367 polling stations had been identified as 'hyper-sensitive' and 'sensitive'.
The state government has also initiated the process to bring under insurance cover all polling and security personnel to be deployed for the October 3 Lok Sabha election in the insurgency-ridden state. Additional paramilitary forces, including BSF personnel, have been arriving in the state from various parts of the country for the polls. Prohibitary orders under section 144 CrPC have been promulgated in Tripura by the district authorities to ensure smooth polling, in which about 1.8 million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. The orders banned anyone except the security forces from carrying arms except the security forces. Movement of vehicles were also restricted under these orders.
The Election Commission has appointed 16 election observers for the two Lok Sabha constituencies to inspect the poll process and counting in the state. The commission has also assigned one counting centre to each of the 16 observers to monitor the counting process, to be started from October 6 in the state's 16 counting centres.
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