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December 26, 2001
1300 IST

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Heavy movement of battalions from UP

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow

Heavy movement of troops is taking place from the army Central Command headquarters in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

While much movement is taking place by road with civilian trucks too having been requisitioned in large numbers, a number of special trains have also been pressed into service to reach the soldiers to their marked destination along the north-western and northern frontiers.

About 300 private civilian trucks have already been hired to carry army units over to the borders.

With Delhi-Bareilly-Lucknow highway (NH -24) being the key route to Punjab and beyond, there are reports of traffic jams on the national highway.

The Uttar Pradesh government has directed all district magistrates and district police chiefs to provide all assistance to ensure smooth movement of the military convoys.

The district magistrates have also been told to assist the military authorities to procure private vehicles, wherever necessary.

According to sources in the Northern Railway, as of now 200 special trains have been planned and more were likely to follow.

"We are committed to ensuring that the army specials do not take more than 24 hours to reach their respective destinations," said a senior railway official.

While cancelling the leave of its employees, the railway ministry has directed its entire operational staff to remain on full alert and give top priority to the movement of army specials.

Army sources maintain that just as the infantry battalions were taking positions on the frontiers, the armoured tank units in and around Jhansi were in all readiness to head for their operational areas, largely along the Thar desert.

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