Tractors used to look for mines on Buddhadeb’s route

November 15th, 2008 - 6:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Nov 15 (IANS) Wiser after the Salboni landmine blast, the police are using tractors to look for explosives in paddy fields as part of the security arrangement for West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s two-day visit to Malda district that begins Saturday.”Our policy is to have zero tolerance on security matters. We are not leaving anything to chance. We are conducting combing operations, we have deployed the bomb squad and sniffer dogs,” said Inspector General of Police (North Bengal) Kundan Lal Tamta, who is camping in Malda.

With suspected Maoists having used a 2.5-km long wire across paddy fields to detonate the Salboni landmine Nov 2, the police were searching even roadside drains, besides deploying tractors on paddy fields.

An alert has been issued in all the six north Bengal districts in the wake of the chief minister’s first tour out of Kolkata since the Salboni explosion, in which Bhattacharjee and two union ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada had a narrow escape.

“We have also intensified mobile patrolling on the national and state highways. All policemen have been issued strict instructions to pass on without delay any information they come across on security matters,” Tamta said.

Special security units have been deployed at the venue of the chief minister’s main programme - the 78th state convention and special general meeting of the West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association. Sophisticated mine detectors costing over Rs.10 million have been put to use.

The police personnel were searching railway stations and bus stops in Malda and adjoining districts.

As the chief minister reached Malda, policemen were stationed every ten feet on the route of his convoy, and shopkeepers were ordered to down shutters as the motorcade passed a road. The policemen were also seen putting up barricades to prevent anybody from coming close to the chief minister.

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