The anti-landmine vehicles being used by the joint forces in anti-Maoist operations in West Midnapore district could not withstand high explosives just as the one which was blown up by ultras in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, a senior police officer said on Friday.
The vehicles could not withstand blasts above 15 to 20 kg of explosives, while personnel inside find it difficult to exit in an emergency and take up position, he said.
Another problem was that the vehicles were not adapted to negotiating ‘kutcha’ roads, he said.
The vehicles were stationed in camps at Lalgarh, Kankrajhor, Burijhora, Neguria, Tarapheni and others.
“At present there are 14 anti-landmine vehicles in West Midnapore of which three belong to the West Bengal government and the remaining to the paramilitary forces,” West Midnapore Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Verma told PTI.
“There is one Mine Protected Vehicles (MPV) at Belpahari police station which is big and spacious, but the others are small and have a seating capacity of 12 to 15,” Mr. Verma said.
The vehicles also need proper maintenance and there were some rules which need to followed in using them, Mr. Verma said.
Keeping the Dantewada massacre in mind, the Union Home Ministry has decided to replace the older MPVs with more sophisticated and higher capacity ones.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had said that public and private sector companies have an extremely limited capacity to manufacture them. A large number of MPVs, including 280 by the CRPF, have been ordered by the paramilitary forces.
Keywords: Operation against extremists