BHUBANESWAR:As the State police makes a dent in the Left Wing Extremists stronghold in the southern districts, the CPI (Maoist) has begun expanding its base in Central Odisha taking the security forces by surprise. This time, it is Satkosia, the second Tiger Reserve of the State. The recent movement of the Maoists in Satkosia Tiger Reserve has indicated that the Deogarh-Sambalpur-Sundargarh division of the outlawed outfit has made inroads into Angul taking advantage of its geographical location. Earlier, Pallahara had witnessed movement of Maoists but the region came under operational jurisdiction of Jajpur-Kalinga Nagar unit which has since weakened and is no more in the reckoning.
Similipal experienced its share of Maoist violence in late 2000s while Nuapada’s Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary, which has been accorded in-principle approval for TR status, continues to struggle with Maoist menace. So much so that the Wildlife Wing is unable to submit its plan to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in the absence of a ground level survey. The recent movement in Angul, according to intelligence sources, is more through Athmallik-Binkai-Thakurgarh-Handappa-Chhendipara-Rairakhol-Deogarh corridor, which the Maoists want to take control of. The unit is being commanded by Kunu Dehuri and comprises at least six lady cadres and another 20 male members.
In the last three to four days, Maoist movements were reported from Chhutkei, Labangi, Tuluka and Chhuari most of which are prime tourist attractions in Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary. Given the dense forests and hills abutting Mahanadi, the area provides perfect foil to Maoists and they have taken full advantage of it. But, it is not just forest and topography, Angul is more vulnerable because it is not equipped to take on the Maoists. Apart from Handappa and Kishore Nagar, no other police station in the district is fortified. Angul does not feature in security-related expenditure (SRE) scheme of the State government. Besides, SI-level officers in the police stations of the district have very little training to counter-Maoist operations while in most cases, age is not in their favour. What’s more worrisome, Angul is industry concentrated too. Security experts say it is about time State Police mobilised Central Para Military Forces to Angul before Maoists make a statement.