Maharashtra police establish first-ever outpost at Gardewada near Maoist stronghold


Representational file image.

Representational file image.

Countering potential landmines and ambushes in the booby-trapped jungles of Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli, over 600 police personnel engaged in road opening exercises, covering a challenging 60 kilometres on foot, to set up a police outpost in the remote Naxal-hit Gardewada within 24 hours.

The outpost inaugurated on Monday aims to enhance surveillance across a 750 square kilometre region, previously considered a stronghold of Naxalites, marking the first permanent police presence in this sensitive area, straddling Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, since 1947.

The Gardewada region, which was in the headlines during the 2019 Lok Sabha election after Maoists detonated three IEDs to disrupt the voting process, is so secluded that the overflowing Tadgudnullah effectively isolates it for nearly six months every year.

“The new police post will support surveillance, facilitate the construction of essential infrastructure, including a pond, a bridge over the stream, ensuring 365 days road connectivity, and an interstate road to Chhattisgarh, and enable the installation of 10 4G cell towers,” District Superintendent of Police, Neelotpal, said.

It is close to the Maoist frontier of Abujmarh, also known as the ‘unknown hills’ in the Gondi language native to the region, and about five kilometres from Marbeda police camp in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker region. Abujmarh area and Indravati National Park are where the top cadre of ‘Red Army’ camp and train their cadre, apart from developing weaponry.

“Our personnel walked for more than 60 km in the dense forest to engage in the road opening exercises to counter landmines and ambush attacks, and reached Gardewada to open the outpost within 24 hours,” says Mr. Neelotpal.

He said that around 1,000 C-60 commandos, 25 Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads, newly-appointed police jawans, 500 special police officers, teams from the State and Central Reserve Police Forces and private contractors were engaged in road opening exercises, post opening and safety for setting up the new police post at Gardewada. To assemble the basic infrastructure, a huge manpower of 1,500, 10 JCBs, 10 trailers, four porcelain machines, 45 trucks, and other facilities, was deployed.

“With this new outpost in the remote area hugging Abujmarh, in addition to three more set up recently, a security vacuum of about 2,000 sq km has been addressed,” Mr. Neelotpal said.

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