The earlier practice of allowing more farmers and the general public to the project site has been discontinued for security reasons. (DC Image)
Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh police have been keeping a close vigil at Polavaram irrigation project in West Godavari to avoid any infiltration of Maoists in the guise of labourers and cause any harm to the project and to those who are working at the project site.
As many as 1,400 workers hailing from parts of eight states including Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh have been working at the project site mainly for civil works. The project authorities have even set up a labour camp at the site to accommodate them.
The AP police engaged the special protection force along with regular police personnel to keep a tab on the entire stretch of the project area. As these workers regularly visit their home villages and come back for work, the police find it a challenging task to thoroughly screen them before allowing them into the project site for work.
The police maintain a database of all these workers containing details like their names, contact numbers, family background, place of residence and a host of other details which are required to know about them. As Maoists are active especially in common border areas of Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and others with AP, the police always maintain high alert to avoid any chance for Maoists to sneak into project site as labourers and create violence.
The police have already imposed a ban on entry of visitors to the project site and only local villagers from 19 gram panchayats will be allowed to reach their native villages after verification of their identity like Aadhaar and others. The earlier practice of allowing more farmers and the general public to the project site has been discontinued for security reasons.
Maintenance of high alert at the project site especially at the labour camp was palpable when a stolen amount of `62 lakh was recovered in 24 hours. The police are also maintaining an informer network especially at vulnerable mandals like Kukkunuru and Velerupadu to know about the movement of Maoists and get ready to face them.
The police are making efforts to restore the electronic surveillance system following some disruption in the service due to floods at the project site. The authorities have roped in health personnel to take up regular Covid-19 tests and vaccination and also to provide healthcare to the workers to avoid spread of the Coronavirus.
Polavaram DSP K. Latha Kumari said, "We are maintaining high level security at Polavaram site to ensure safety to the project and to the officials and labourers working there to avoid any threat, especially from Maoists."