Government on Friday apprised MPs belonging to 33 worst Naxal-affected districts about its strategy, especially development schemes, and sought their cooperation in the task to deal with the Maoists.
Home Minister P Chidambaram and other top officials briefed the MPs about the gravity of the Maoist problem and steps being taken by government to deal with the menace.
"Planning Commission had given a presentation to the MPs about development schemes. Focus is entirely on flagship programmes of Government of India as implemented in the districts," Union Home Secretary, Gopal K Pillai, told reporters after the nearly two-hour long meeting. Some of the 20 participating Parliamentarians also spoke about the problems in their respective areas and offered their help in implementing development schemes.
"The MPs spoke about their perspective on the issue and what role they could play in ensuring the better monitoring of various programmes," Pillai said.
A similar exercise will take place in the second half of May because the meeting could not cover all constituencies and districts. During the presentation, government drew attention of the MPs to anti-development activities of Naxalites as they have been destroying school buildings, roads and telephone towers among others.
Of the 33 districts, 10 are in Jharkhand, seven in Chhattisgarh, six in Bihar, five in Orissa, two in Maharashtra, one each in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. All these districts are underdeveloped and authorities believe that economic backwardness may drive many local people of these regions to join the Maoist ranks, the official said. JD(U) MP from Jahanabad (Bihar) Jagdish Sharma said he asked the government to take people into confidence while carrying out about development schemes.
"Government must take urgent steps for eradication of poverty, improvement of road connectivity, irrigation projects, PDS schemes etc. to get support of the common people," he said. BJD MP from Dhenkanal (Orissa) Tathagata Satapathy said government must ensure that the development schemes are implemented with utmost sincerity.
Independent MP from Chatra (Jharkhand) Inder Singh Namdhari favoured more such meetings for better cooperation and proper implementation of the schemes.
The meeting was held in the wake of the killing of 76 security personnel by the Maoists in Chhattisgarh on April 6. Government has taken these 33 districts as focus districts to root out the menace from there and subsequently carry out developmental activities.