With the elections approaching and having experienced hardships in tackling critical situations such as the Dera-Sikh clash and sacrilege of holy books, the Bathinda zonal police have sought permanent stationing of three armed police battalions near Bathinda, which is dominated by the ruling Badals and represented in Parliament by Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.The process has started and the police are finding a suitable location that can accommodate a large number of personnel together. The Bathinda police zone comprises seven districts — Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Moga and Faridkot.Sources said two places were recently scrutinised for this purpose in Bathinda district, one near Maur and the other near Bhissiana, but neither one could be finalised. Besides, the sanctioning of a post of a DIG-level officer too has been sought for these reserve battalions, added sources.Notably, this area remains on an edge geographically and whenever any major issue arises, additional police force comes from far-flung areas.“It takes nearly eight hours for personnel to prepare and reach Bathinda from Jalandhar. It will be better if three armed battalions are permanently posted in this area. As per norms, a battalion needs an area of 20-25 acres. But it is not possible to get a huge chunk of 75-acre for the three battalions. The residential quarters, offices and grounds can be made one above the other and land can be saved,” said an SP-level officer posted in the Malwa region.RS Khatra, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Bathinda range, said, “We have sought permission for the permanent stationing of three reserve armed police battalions and a senior officer in this area. However, the non-availability of land is so far proving to be an issue. If some village panchayat agrees to provide us 25-30 acres, we will compensate by giving jobs to village youth.”