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CRPF unit in LWE-hit Gadchiroli prepares masks for locals from hundreds of new vests

The paramilitary unit was directed to immediately begin relief work in the area and distribute hand sanitizers, soaps, detergent, face masks, dry ration and cooked food to the needy. "We had no masks. Supplies from outside would have taken some time to arrive. Then, we found we had 415 fresh vests in our unit canteen."

PTI|
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2020, 04.03 PM IST
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Central Reserve Police Force CRPF 213 Mahila ,(women wing) Battalion with HQR at Nagpur staff along with their male counter parts distributed essential items under the civil action program to the needy and affected persons due to the Covid19 lockdown. (Representative image)
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NEW DELHI: An anti-Naxal CRPF unit in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli has used hundreds of fresh cotton vests to prepare nearly 2,500 face masks for locals to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the area. The 191st battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force is deployed in an interior location in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-hit Gadchiroli district where the supply of regular goods was hampered after the country went into a lockdown from March 25.

The paramilitary unit was directed to immediately begin relief work in the area and distribute hand sanitizers, soaps, detergent, face masks, dry ration and cooked food to the needy.

"We had no masks. Supplies from outside would have taken some time to arrive. Then, we found we had 415 fresh vests in our unit canteen."

"In normal times, these are meant to be used by our troops but this was an extraordinary situation," Prabhakar Tripathi, the Commanding Officer of CRPF's 191 battalion, told over phone from Gadchiroli.

"We immediately put our tailors and other jawans on task and they cut these vests and stitched a total of 2,490 face masks that were distributed among the locals," the Commandant said.

These came in handy in the initial days which gave the force time to source masks from outside, he said.

This CRPF unit has been providing meal to about 600 villagers, including 40 members of two wedding parties, for close to a month now.

The wedding party got stuck in this remote location due to the lockdown clamped to contain the spread of coronavirus infection in the country.

The Gadchiroli district is one of the worst Maoist violence-affected districts in the country and the CRPF has been deployed there for conducting anti-Naxal operations.

The units or companies (about 100 personnel each) of this battalion are deployed in remote locations, as far as 150-200 Kms from the district headquarters, like Etapalli (that borders the Abujhmaad area of Chhattisgarh), Hedri, Gatta(Jambia), Heliwada, Kasansur and Kotami.
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