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No dilution in strategy to tackle Maoists, says Chidambaram

The government today asserted its two-pronged strategy of accelerated development and calibrated police action to deal with Maoists will not be diluted. Oppn accuses Govt of taking soft line on Naxals
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 03, 2010 07:33 PM IST

The government on Monday asserted its two-pronged strategy of accelerated development and calibrated police action to deal with Maoists will not be diluted.

"There will be no dilution in government's two-pronged policy in dealing with the naxal menace," Home Minister P Chidambaram told a meeting of the Consultative Committee of his Ministry in New Delhi.

He said accelerated development and calibrated police action continued to be two pillars of government's anti-naxal policy.

The Home Minister said on both the fronts, the primary responsibility rests with state governments though the Centre has an important role to play.

"On the police action front, the Centre has to provide para-military forces to the state, but it is the officers of the state police who have to lead the operations.

"Success of the operations largely depends on the soundness of the plans, prepared by a state government and its efficient implementation," he said.

On the developmental front, Chidambaram said, while the Centre provides substantial funds to the state governments under various schemes, the machinery to implement the schemes and utilise the funds is under their control.

He pointed out nearly one-third of the funds provided to the 35 worst-hit naxal districts under developmental schemes like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, National Rural Drinking Water Supply Programme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Indira Awas Yojana remained unutilised.

"There are also questions on whether the money spent actually had reached the intended beneficiaries," he said.

The Home Minister said it is important to secure insurgency-affected areas for apprehending naxal leaders, restoring civil administration and bringing about development there.

The naxals do not want development of tribal-dominated areas, he said adding this is clear from the wantonness with which they have been destroying the infrastructure.

In 2009 alone, naxals targeted 362 telephone towers, school buildings, roads, culverts etc, Chidambaram said.

Refuting the allegation that security forces are working with obsolete weapons, he said the Centre has equipped para-military forces, deployed in Naxal-hit areas, with latest weapons.

"The state governments have also started acquiring modern weapons, but they have some distance to go. The main area of concern is the lack of required manpower as the vacancy level in state police forces is very high.

"These vacancies need to be filled up quickly and the recruited personnel need to be imparted necessary training before they can be deployed for anti-Naxal operations," he said.

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