Home ministry banks on development to tackle Maoism

May 28th, 2008 - 9:52 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Shivraj Patil

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) In a bid to win over the people of regions affected by Maoist violence, the home ministry Wednesday decided to strengthen the implementation of government-run welfare and development schemes in these areas. “The home minister (Shivraj Patil) reviewed the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyut Yojana (RGGVY) and other welfare measures of the government in the 33 naxal-affected districts of the country and made some valuable suggestions for better implementation,” a ministry official, preferring anonymity, said.

Patil presided over a meeting lasting over two hours in which senior officers from ministries of rural development, power, telecommunications, health & family welfare, agriculture, tribal affairs and panchayati raj took part. Minister of State Sriprakash Jaiswal and Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta were also present.

Sources said the government took a decision in the meeting to increase the number of work days to 100 under NREGS in these regions as was being done in other parts of the country.

It was also decided that the state governments be asked to prioritise housing in these areas under IAY.

The rural development ministry has been requested to monitor and ensure faster implementation of PMGSY in the Maoist-affected regions.

Patil requested that road construction in the tribal and forest districts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, two of the most severely-affected states, be taken up on a priority basis.

Patil had said in the Lok Sabha during the budget session that a moderate approach to fighting left-wing radical violence was the best and using too much force or failure to look at issues of development in these regions would not solve the problem.

A combination of both, as per the requirements on the ground, was ideal, he said.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has faced persistent criticism from the opposition parties for its failure to tackle growing Maoism in the country, especially in the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa.

The government was accused of being soft on Maoists due to pressure from the Left parties that support it from outside.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was forced to concede a few months ago that Maoism was the single biggest threat to internal security in India.

Wednesday’s meeting seems to be a result of the new wave of thinking in the home ministry. It is also a novel way of propagating the government-run schemes, said a source.

Chhattisgarh and Orissa are due for assembly polls within a year.

During the meeting, Patil advised the tribal affairs ministry representative to communicate to the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs from these affected districts to make some contribution under the MP Local Area Development scheme funds for the construction of hostels for students studying in residential and ashram schools.

Patil reviewed the work done under the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyut Yojna but at the same time emphasized the need to tap non-conventional energy sources.

For better mobile phone connectivity, he said communication towers could be located within the premises of the camps of paramilitary forces stationed in these districts as well as in the police station premises.

Thousands of innocent people in the affected states have lost their lives due to maoist attacks in the past few years.

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