Nearly a year after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had described Left-wing extremism as a ‘‘virus’’, a special anti-Naxal force—COBRA— has finally seen light of the day after remaining in bureaucratic wrangling for months.
The clearance to raise the 10,000-strong Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), under the command and control of the CRPF, was given by the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by the Prime Minister.
It took nearly a year for the Union home ministry to translate the words of the Prime Minister into action. Singh during his address to the top police brass last year in October had called for a special force to tackle Left-wing extremism.
Though the CRPF, which is in-charge of the internal security in the country, had submitted a proposal to the ministry about creation of a dedicated force, the Home ministry was still mulling over it till it pressure was exerted from relevant quarters for its immediate presentation before the Cabinet.
The 10,000 odd men in the COBRA unit will focus on ‘‘effectiveness and operational success’’ and they would be imparted exclusive training in the terrain and topography of the area of operation.
The new force will be set up at a cost of Rs 1,389.47 crore out of which Rs 898.12 crore will be spent on land and infrastructure while an an expenditure of Rs 491.35 crore will be made on manpower training over a period of three years.
The CRPF, in the meantime, will provide the manpower till the recruitment and the training process of the fresh 10 battalions were completed.
K Durga Prasad, a 1981 batch IPS officer from Andhra Pradesh, is likely to take charge of of the COBRA force as he has an expertise in handling the anti-Left wing operations in his parent cadre.