TAMIL NADU

Security preparations for elections begin



K.T. Sangameswaran

Police officials hold meetings for drawing up bandobust plans

City police now have a larger area within its jurisdictionTamil Nadu police have a strength of about 88,500Of the total 54,912 polling booths, 6,730 are identified as sensitive

CHENNAI: Security preparations for the State Assembly elections seem to have started with senior police officials holding meetings for drawing up detailed bandobust plans. Unlike in the last Assembly poll in 2001, the city police now have a larger area within its jurisdiction consequent on the annexing of the erstwhile Chengalpattu-East police limits to it.

A few meetings of officials have already been conducted as part of the preparatory exercise, official sources said. The State Government has posted two officers in the rank of Inspector-General of Police and Superintendent of Police on poll duty.

The sources say that poll-related works start well in advance as the district police and the Commissionerates have to come up with detailed bandobust plans, which would be finalised. With a total electorate of 4.63 crores, the State has 234 Assembly constituencies. According to official records, the Tamil Nadu police have a strength of about 88,500. Besides the mobilisation of the State force for the elections, the strength of paramilitary personnel required to assist the State police would have to be assessed. Also, the localities and polling booths which are politically and communally sensitive and incident-prone should be identified. For instance in 2001, of the total 54,912 polling booths, 6,730 were identified as sensitive.

What should come as a relief to the authorities is that in sharp contrast to the 2001 elections, this time, the "Veerappan factor" in the areas of Satyamangalam and adjoining areas is absent. In the last Assembly elections, 94 booths were identified as lying in the areas.

With the expansion of its limits, the Chennai Police Commissionerate now has 19 Assembly constituencies within its jurisdiction.

The Assembly segments of Tiruvottiyur, Villivakkam, Tambaram, Alandur and Poonamallee also fully come under the jurisdiction of the Chennai police. The total electorate is about 58 lakhs. Besides these, some of the booths in the Thiruporur, Sriperumbudur, Ponneri and Tiruvallur Assembly constituencies are also located in the Commisionerate limits.