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Meet on anti-Naxal drive today

delhi Updated: Jul 14, 2010 00:15 IST
Aloke Tikku

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram will discuss with chief ministers on Wednesday how they can raise the bar for anti-Naxal operations and ensure that tribals can benefit from the crores of rupees spent on developmental projects for them.

The meeting comes two months after the massacre of 76 security personnel in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district prompted the Centre to revisit components of its anti-Naxal strategy.

The chief ministers will be briefed on decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security after the Dantewada incident, list the steps the states were expected to take and finalise the implementation schedule.

The CCS had decided to go for unified command structures headed by the chief ministers concerned to improve coordination, appoint a senior army officer — retired or serving — as an adviser, set up an army sub-area and a para special forces training school in Chhattisgarh and post a minimum of 40 personnel in rural police stations.

Also on the table was a Rs 800-crore modernisation plan for the 400 police stations that report Naxal violence.

Naxal violence has claimed over 10,000 civilians and securitymen in the past five years.

Chidambaram had suggested the conference to the CCS earlier, saying it was necessary to take the state governments on board before fine-tuning its strategy.

Chief Ministers of five states — Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar — will attend the meeting.

The Bengal health minister and Jharkhand governor will represent their respective states.

Given that two states — West Bengal and Bihar — are due to go to polls in less than a year, officials suggested the discussions on Wednesday should focus on the governance challenge in Naxal-hit districts too, a reflection of the government’s two-pronged strategy.