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First two batches of central forces arrive in poll-bound West Bengal

Seven more companies of central forces are supposed to arrive by the end of the day. A total of 125 companies will show up in the state by February 25.

SNS | Kolkata |

The first batch of central forces have arrived in poll-bound West Bengal. Reportedly, two companies of CISF reached Durgapur before travelling to Bankura and Birbhum on Friday.

Seven more companies are supposed to set foot in West Bengal by the end of the day. A total of 125 companies will show up in the state by February 25. Each company is believed to have 80-130 officers.

The central armed police forces for the much-talked-about West Bengal election will include 60 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 30 companies of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and five companies each of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

Such heavy deployment of forces even before the declaration of dates for polls have raised eyebrows. The dates are unlikely to be announced before February 28, when PM Narendra Modi will arrive in West Bengal to either inaugrate or lay foundation stones of several central government initiatives.

Alleging a degradation of law and order in West Bengal under the watch of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Centre had made claims that the polls would witness no untoward incident of violence this time.

“The district-wise list of CAPF coys has been forwarded by the chief electoral officer of West Bengal,” PTI quoted an Election Commission official as saying.

“The senior superintendents of police and chief superintendents of police have been advised to take necessary steps for their accommodation, transportation and other logistics,” the official said.

As part of the deployment plan, 12 companies of the central forces are scheduled to arrive in the metropolis on Saturday, he said.

On Friday night, one CRPF company designated for Birbhum district, is slated to arrive.

The ECI is mulling deploying three companies of SSB in Kolkata, four companies of CRPF in neighbouring Howrah Police Commissionerate area and two companies in Howrah (Rural) for the time being, the official said.

A maximum of nine companies of CRPF each have been planned for Purulia and Jhargram districts.

“The forces will lay stress on area domination, especially in the sensitive zones. The state police and senior officials of the district administration will be assisting them,” he said.

The security personnel will send daily reports to the CEO by 8 pm.