CRPF to use 'robo cop' to detect hidden IEDs in Naxal areas

CRPF to use 'robo cop' to detect hidden IEDs in Naxal areas
A 'robo cop' would soon assist CRPF patrols to detect hidden Naxal-planted IEDs and landmines that have caused numerous fatal causalities in the country's largest paramilitary force.

Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) DG K Durga Prasad today said the capabilities of the robotic device are being ascertained by the force in consultation with IIT Mumbai.

Using the device, hidden bombs beneath the dirt tracks or 'pucca' roads could be identified and safely defused, thereby saving a troop from being killed or maimed by its explosive impact, said Durga who retires tomorrow.

A senior official said the robot under test is a four- wheeled machine which can be remotely operated by patrol teams to detect and safely defuse the bomb in a secure environment.

Prasad said the robot is being tested and it will be put to field trials soon so that the menace of IEDs can be thwarted. Explosions through IEDs and hidden explosives has killed hundreds of CRPF and other security forces personnel while as many have been severely maimed or have lost their limbs.

The force is also looking at getting some special boots, under test at a Hyderabad-based institute at present, that could save troops from getting hit by IEDs, hidden beneath the ground, during explosions.

The DG said 2016 had the "lowest level" of violence in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas and the force estimates that the weapon and ammunition strength of the red ultras has come down to a large extent. The Maoists' dream of having a "red corridor" of their presence in the country has been shattered, he added.

"A large number of cadres are surrendering...some important cadres are surrendering regularly now. There is no red corridor as it was propagated earlier....the Naxals are now contained to pockets only," he said.

"We have been able to penetrate their hideouts and fortress. Our teams have inflicted heavy losses on the Naxals," said the outgoing DG who headed the about 3-lakh personnel strong force for an year.

Prasad said the Central Reserve Police Force has stepped up joint training with the security and police forces of states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and others in order to undertake effective and combined anti-Naxal operations. The CRPF, with over 90 battalions (90,000 personnel) in LWE theatre, is the lead anti-Maoist operations force of the country.
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