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Top cop shifted amid split buzz

Ranchi, July 14: The state government today replaced director-general of police R.R. Prasad with home guards and fire brigade director-general S.M. Cairae.

Prasad has been asked to assume charge of the post being vacated by Cairae.

Though chief minister Arjun Munda described the replacement of the state’s top cop as a “routine reshuffle” in the police department, the grapevine has it that growing differences between Munda and Prasad of late was the reason behind the development.

Prasad recently issued statements on the chief minister’s new moves for peace talks with the banned Left extremist outfits, which were not in conformity with what Munda has been telling.

What has intrigued police circles is that Cairae is scheduled to retire from service in May 2005, whereas Prasad will retire in May 2007.

The new DGP is an IPS officer of the 1967 batch. He was also Jharkhand’s first DGP. He stayed as DGP for 32 days only. He made way for T.P. Sinha. R.R. Prasad became DGP after Sinha retired.

Prasad had recently said that it was not possible for the government to hold talks with the Naxalites.

On the other hand, the chief minister has been expressing his readiness time and again to hold dialogue with the Naxalites. It was widely perceived that the DGP’s statement had not gone down well with the chief minister.

A section of the police had been blaming Munda for adopting a “soft line” while dealing with Naxalites. A day after a recent Naxalite ambush, the Jharkhand Police Association had met and several policemen had held the government’s policies responsible for the rise in attacks on them.

Replying to another question, Munda said today he has already requested the PMO to grant him an appointment on July 16 and 18.

He wants to meet the Prime Minister for reviving Heavy Engineering Corporation. He also announced that the state was ready to write off dues against HEC for its revival.

Munda will be going to Delhi along with his cabinet colleagues soon after he gets a green signal from the PMO.

He will also request all the MPs from Jharkhand, irrespective of their political affiliation, to join him in the campaign to revive HEC.

“We proposed through the Assembly that the state was ready to provide economic package worth Rs 493 crore for HEC. But this went unnoticed. Now that the BIFR has recommended its closure, the Centre should challenge the BIFR order before the AAIFR within 45 days. The Left parties decry closure of PSUs, but today they are keeping mum. This exposes their real face,” Munda said.

Targeting Union minister of state for food processing Subodh Kant Sahay, Munda said: “He is a Lok Sabha member from Ranchi and has a long association with the HEC workers’ union. He should immediately tender his resignation and fight for Jharkhand’s cause.”

Asked why the Babulal Marandi government in the state kept mum when the Vajpayee government at the Centre had ordered closure of state’s only fertiliser plant in Sindri about two years ago, Munda said that the revival of FCI Sindri was not possible because of outdated technology.

But the case was not the same with HEC, he added, saying that the defence ministry, too, gave a step motherly treatment to HEC.

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