Raising the pitch to mount an all-out offensive against Maoists, the Centre on Tuesday cleared a project to raise specialised anti-Maoist commando units in four states on the lines of Andhra Pradesh's Greyhounds.
The Centre's idea behind the project is that the states need specialised units to take out armed Maoist guerrillas and their leaders while central forces such as the CRPF and BSF hold and clear these territories.
The ambitious Rs. 280 crore proposal was cleared by a panel of senior bureaucrats headed by the finance secretary on Tuesday.
The four Maoist-affected states to be covered under the project are Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Odisha. The Greyhounds too would be upgraded under this project.
Government sources said the states have only been able to create basic rudimentary commando units that neither have the skill set nor the resources - manpower and equipment - to seriously dent the naxal operations.
States need a commando unit that is capable of moving swiftly into the heart of the Red Corridor, conducting operations for a week at a stretch, and pursue the Maoists across state borders, a senior government official said.
To be eligible for the central funding, the states will, however, have to agree to give 60% more salary to their commando units to attract the best in the force and reorient their existing units on lines of the Greyhounds.
Sources said there was a strong view that the central police forces and state teams were good at clearing and holding territories but did not have the expertise to conduct targeted operations that were required to take out the Maoist leadership.