Patna, June 26: The next time Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh wishes to visit Maoist-hit Giddha village in north Bihar, police would be ready to escort him.
The state government, in a directive to the police headquarters on Tuesday, said the minister should be persuaded to visit the village in Sitamarhi district when he comes to Bihar on an official tour next time. The government’s directive comes in the wake of a detailed report submitted to the state home department by the police headquarters on the inability of the Sitamarhi administration to provide security to Ramesh, when he wanted to visit Giddha, 110km north of Patna, earlier thismonth.
On a two-day visit to Sitamarhi to assess development work carried out under various central schemes, the Union minister had expressed his desire to visit the village. But the district administration had advised him against it, citing security reasons.
Taking a strong exception to the district officials’ helplessness, the home department had sought a report from the police headquarters. Deputy inspector-general (special branch) Parasnath went to Sitamarhi on Saturday to inquire into the matter.
On his return, the DIG submitted his report to the director-general of police and it was forwarded to the home department yesterday.
Sources said according to the DIG’s report, the minister expressed a desire to visit any village of the district affected by Naxalite activity. He had not mentioned the name of any particular village. Giddha under Runnisaidpur police station was suggested by the JD(U) MP from Sitamarhi, Arjun Rai. Ramesh had agreed to the suggestion.
The Sitamarhi superintendent of police, Vivek Kumar, and acting district magistrate Ramashankar Prasad Daftuar were, however, informed about the plan to visit the village on June 17 morning. The plan was also not mentioned in the minister’s itinerary.
The report also mentioned that Giddha is situated in the bordering area of Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur and Sheohar districts and is affected with Naxalites activity. So, it was not possible to make foolproof security arrangement for the minister at such short notice. It also claimed that there was no lapse on the part of the district officials as far as arranging security for the central minister was concerned, adding that such programmes should be made well in advance.
The home department has issued a directive to the police headquarters to ensure that the Union minister should be provided adequate security whenever he wishes to visit the Maoist-affected village next time. “We have no problem in providing security to the central minister during his next visit, as the area has already been sensitised by the security personnel,” said additional director-general of police (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar.