The Siliguri Metropolitan Police (SMP) has sought 8,500 personnel from the Election Commission of India (ECI) for the ensuing Assembly elections. The police have said that there could be deployment of 60 companies of central armed police forces (CAPF) and 25 companies of the state police.

Police officers said such a number of the forces had been sought according to the requirement, the nature of critical booths and vulnerable polling stations under the SMP. Sources said three companies of the CAPF were likely to arrive here after 26 February.

They will be stationed in the Siliguri, Bhaktinagar and Matigara police station areas. Each company has around 100 forces. Sources said around 30 companies of the CAPF had been deployed during the last parliamentary elections in 2019.

“They will carry out areadomination exercises as part of the confidence-building measures,” said a senior police officer. Meanwhile, as part of the standard operating procedure before the elections, a number of police officers from the rank of assistant sub inspector (ASI) to the assistant commissioner of police (ACP) have been reshuffled in the past one month.

“Around five ACPs, eight inspectors, 130 sub-inspectors and 165 ASIs have been transferred,” an officer said. The sources said that the civil wing of the PWD was preparing for arrangements like kitchens and dining halls for the forces to stay here, the electrical wing of the department is making arrangements for generators, bulbs, fans and halogens.

The PHE mechanical division is arranging packaged drinking water, tube wells, while the water supply wing of the mechanical division of the PHE will arrange for a 2000-litre water tank and toilets. The deputy commissioner of the SMP (Headquarters), Joy Tudu, said they were taking adequate steps to ensure free and fair elections.

The SMP has already already identified around 140 “vulnerable pockets” abd have started area domination exercises as part of the confidence-building measure for the elections. It is also installing 200 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in “vulnerable areas” of the town.