For the first time in an election in the country, security forces are going to use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to keep tabs on the movements of criminals and Maoists to prevent them from disrupting the forthcoming Bihar Assembly elections.
According to highly-placed sources in the Election Commission, at least four such UAVs are likely to be used in various regions of Bihar, including the Maoist infested districts of Gaya, Aurangabad, Nawada, Munger, Jamui and Lakhisarai.
"This will be the first time that we will be using UAVs to conduct free and fair polls. The regions and the seats where these UAVs will be deployed are in the process of being identified. The aim behind deploying UAVs is to send out a message to trouble mongers that the administration is present even in remote areas. Our focus will be on those constituencies where the polling percentage has traditionally been on the lower side due to the fear of Maoists, as the presence of the hovering UAVs will give a sense of security to the voters," an official with the Election Commission said.
The UAVs, an official said, will be operating at a height of 2,000 metres and will be sending live video feeds of the polling booths and nearby areas to the control centre. "The video feeds sent by the UAVs will be monitored by the security personnel sitting in control centres, who will be in touch with the forces on ground. In case of any untoward incident being reported from a constituency by the UAV, the same will be communicated to the ground forces for immediate action," said the official.
In a bid to avoid the UAVs being targeted by the Maoists, who carry AK-47 assault rifles that can hit an object at a height of 600-700 metres, the UAVs will be deliberately flown at a height of 2,000 metres. "We have inputs that the Naxals also have AK-47 in their possession. To avoid any risk of the UAVs being targeted by them, we have instructed the handlers not to bring them below 2,000 metres. The high resolution cameras on the UAVs will easily be able to record and beam pictures to the control centre," said the official.