HomeIndiaGreyhound in search of home in Andhra Pradesh

Greyhound in search of home in Andhra Pradesh

The state has taken a very long time to set up a base and training center for the force in Andhra.

The state has taken a very long time to set up a base and training center for the force in Andhra.

After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, all is not well with Greyhound, the elite anti-Maoist force and a role model for all Left Wing Extremism affected states. As per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, Greyhound’s men and material were to be shared by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Both Greyhound’s training centers – Premavathipet and Gandhipet – were located in Hyderabad, and so the Act specified that Andhra Pradesh would have to set up its own base and training centre. In 2014, the Union Home Ministry sanctioned ₹209 crore to set it up. Of this, about ₹9 crore was released immediately. Eight years have passed, but Andhra Pradesh still does not have a training center for the force. ₹9 crore remained untouched.

The Greyhound force was formed in 1989 by an IPS officer KS Vyas to tackle the growing Maoist menace in Andhra Pradesh. The Maoist movement in the state began with the 1967 Srikakulam rebellion. Although it was dismantled initially, it was soon revived and gained momentum. Vyasa envisioned a force that had a common vision of warfare and assault and was well trained in guerrilla and jungle warfare. Over the years, with its many successes, this special police force became the root cause of the decline of Left Wing Extremism in Andhra Pradesh. This prompted the creation of other similar forces to fight the Maoists: Odisha developed the Special Operations Group; Maharashtra, C-60; and West Bengal, Counter Insurgency Force. Experts say that the Cobra Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force engaged in anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh has also been formed on the lines of Greyhound.

Soon after the partition of Andhra Pradesh, a contingent of Greyhounds was moved to the operational base at Thimmapuram in Visakhapatnam. This operational base, spread over about 300 acres in forest land, was said to be a temporary arrangement for the force. Although around 18 Greyhound companies have shifted to Thimmapuram, about 10 remaining companies from Andhra Pradesh are still based in Hyderabad.

The Andhra Pradesh cabinet gave its approval for setting up a full-fledged training centre-cum-residential facility for Greyhounds and a government order was passed. The state government has identified about 385 acres of land in Jagannadhapuram village of Chandaka panchayat of Anandapuram mandal in Visakhapatnam for this purpose. But not a single stone has been removed so far, as there are issues of rehabilitation and resettlement.

Officials say some farmers were cultivating the identified land. The government agreed to give them a compensation of about ₹9 crore. But according to senior officials of the district administration, some politicians have fraudulently included some other names to take the compensation demand to around Rs 22 crore.

Senior police officials say the identified land is perfect to convert it into a training centre-cum-operational base. If necessary, some part of the land can also be marked as a training center for Octopus (Organization for Anti-Terrorist Operations), another specialized counter-terrorism unit of the Andhra Pradesh Police, he says. But no one knows when this will happen. The central government is clearly pressurizing the state for a quick solution. It is time for the state to resolve this issue as it has taken a very long time for Greyhounds to find their home in Andhra Pradesh.

sumit.b@thehindu.co.in

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