Refuting charges that lack of development led to increase in naxal activities in the tribal belt of Jungle Mahal in West Bengal, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has said the Left Wing Extremists have chosen the difficult terrain to have a "strategic advantage".
"A section of people has attributed lack of development as the main reason for rise of Maoist problems in Jungle Mahal. But this is not correct. Rather they have identified the area since it is a difficult terrain from where they can operate safely as they have done in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand," Bhattacharjee said.
In an interview published in a booklet released today by the state's Information and Cultural Affairs department on the occasion of Left Front Government's completion of 33 years in power, he said the region was geographically ideal for "politics of violence" practised by the Maoists.
"But this is also true that Jungal Mahal (region comprising hilly forested areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts) is to some extent a backward area compared to other parts in the state," he admitted.
"Before the Maoist problems started, we implemented land reforms in these area and handed over land deeds to the poor and recorded share croppers," he said.
"Withoug viewing it only as a law and order problem, we are giving stress to socio-economic development of the area," the chief minister said.
Employment is being generated in the tribal dominated areas, he said, adding priority is being given to irrigation, drinking water, education, health and PDS.
Besides anti-Maoist operation, political programmes are used for restoration of peace, he said.