Nandigram to see fair

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Nandigram, May 6 (UNI) West Bengal Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty today said all precautions were being taken to ensure free, fair and peaceful Panchayat polls in Nandigram.

Mr Chakraborty, who visited the area and spoke to reporters here, said, ''In view of the detereorating law and order situation in Nandigram, Haldia SDPO Gaurav Sharma will be working round-the-clock till the Panchayat elections are over and there is no need for approaching the Nandigram Officer in Charge Debashis Chakraborty for the security issues.'' Replying to a question, Mr Chakraborty said a flag march by the Eastern Frontier Rifles has also been ordered in Nandigram, which will continue till the end of the elections as well.

Mr Chakraborty said he and DG Anup Bhushan Bhora have spoken to AITC MLA Shubhendu Adhikary and Member of Distrirct CPI(M) Secretariat Ashok Guria regarding the law and order situation and will consider their suggestions, while chalking out elaborate security arrangement during the election days to restore confidence among voters and see that candidates from all political parties can move unhindered.

He further said all security arrangements will be made to aid the safe return of the villagers who left their homes in Nandigram out of fear from party activists vandalising their homes and killing their family members.

While speaking to the press, East Midnapore DM Anup Agarwal, who was present along with West Midnapore DM R K Nigam, said about 54 gram panchayat seats and eight panchayat samity seats remained uncontested.

Replying to a question by a reporter regarding Maoist threat during the elections, Mr Chakraborty said, ''Belpahari, Banspahari and the other maoist-effected areas in the district, where some police personnel and CPI(M) cadres were reportedly killed and a couple of ammunition stolen, will be well guarded by paramilitary forces and any attempts to create trouble by the Maoist will be foiled.'' Incidentally, the Maoists have declared to boycott the elections in the region.

Commenting on the large number of uncontested candidates in West Midnapore, DM Nigam said this time the percentage of uncontested candidates have declined from 25 per cent in 2004 to 18 per cent this year.

He further added that an all party meeting will be held in Nandigram BDO office today to discuss the proposals on how to bring the villagers back to their homes in Nandigram and provide security to candidates constesting the elections.

UNI XC LL MSJ DB1834

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