The state government announced a development package of Rs 654 crore for the naxal-hit Gadchiroli district for its overall development.
Replying to a debate on the problems of tribal district of Gadchiroli in eastern part of Maharashtra, the home minister RR Patil, who is also the Guardian minister for the naxalite-prone district informed on Thursday in the state Assembly that the development package was finalised with the help of union government to solve various problems of the district. The last day proceedings of the state Assembly lasted up to 11 pm, perhaps for the first time in the history of state legislature in Nagpur.
The state has already received Rs 55-crore towards two installments of the package. The union government has identified 35 naxalite-prone districts in the country and Gadchiroli is one of them. It takes an integrated view of the overall development of the backward district under this Rs 654-crore package included construction of irrigation dams, roads, national highways, bridges and etc. Of them, Rs 30-crore were granted for purchasing equipments, like helicopter.
The minister declared that Gadchiroli district would be made power-cut free region shortly.
"The district is one of the lowest power consuming districts in the state because of lack of industries. Therefore, I and the deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar had proposed that it should be made power-cut free district," he announced.
However, the Maharashtra Electricity Regularity Commission had opposed the move, citing that it would result in Rs 37-crore losses to Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company. But the government is determined and would pay this amount from state reserves for bailing out the tribal people of the backward district, he pointed out.
According to the home minister, a large number of armed naxalites are active in Gadchiroli district who have waged a war against the state power. The union government has provided four battalions of central reserve police force (CRPF). Apart from this, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) forces are also there. He also appealed to the political parties to fight the left-extremist menace jointly.
Referring to his recent visit to Gadchiroli district together with the opposition leaders, Patil said the CRPF and ITBP jawans had complained of discrimination for providing compensation. Therefore, the state government would pay compensation at par with its own policemen to the jawans of central forces if they were martyred while fighting with naxalites.
He said that the government was making all necessary efforts to carry out development programmes in the district. However, he regretted that top bureaucrats always reluctant to go there if they get posting. Patil came down heavily on the bureaucrats blaming for not supporting the policies meant for development of the region.