The Election Commission on Wednesday asked the Odisha government to seal the state’s border with poll-bound Chhattisgarh and increase monitoring, PTI reported. Odisha’s Chief Electoral Officer Surendra Kumar said the poll panel had asked administrations in eight border districts in Odisha to increase monitoring to detect Maoists or people carrying alcohol, cash and other materials.

Chhattisgarh is scheduled to hold Assembly elections in two phases – on November 12 and November 20. “The Odisha government has been told to seal its border with Chhattisgarh in order to ensure free and fair elections in that state,” Kumar said.

The eight border districts in Odisha are Sundergarh, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Nuapada, Nabarangpurm Malkangiri, Kalahandi and Koraput.

Bidyut Panda, Nuapada district sub-divisional police officer, said the exercise is aimed at curbing illegal activities ahead of the election, OdishaTV reported. “The Superintendent of Police has directed a strict checking of vehicles and patrolling will be continued till the completion of election in Chhattisgarh,” Panda said. “Our motive is to track any kind of Maoist movement or any kind of suspicious anti-social activities.

Ram Khilaban Verma, a tehsildar in Chhattisgarh’s Bagbahara, said security personnel will be increasing monitoring on major highways between the two states, the news channel reported.