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Latehar on state agenda

Ranchi, Oct. 15: Union home ministry has convened a meeting of Naxalite-hit states on Thursday during which Jharkhand is expected to seek more developmental projects for the Sarju-Kone area of Latehar in the context of the ongoing initiative in the former rebel bastion of Saranda in West Singhbhum.

Today, chief secretary S.K. Choudhary held a meeting with senior home department and police officials along with deputy commissioners of Latehar and West Singhbhum as a precursor to the Delhi meeting.

“Special watershed projects have been taken up by the Latehar district administration for the Sarju-Kone area to provide water for irrigation throughout the year. We will ask for more developmental projects for the area,” inspector general of police S.N. Pradhan told The Telegraph.

Under the watershed management programme, Latehar has launched projects worth Rs 5.5 crore, while several rural road projects under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) are on the anvil.

The Sarju-Kone area of Latehar district, which shares borders with the Maoist stronghold of Garhwa and the neighbouring state of Chhattisgarh, has assumed extreme importance in Jharkhand’s fight to tame Naxalism.

Thursday’s meeting in Delhi is likely to be attended by chief secretary S.K Choudhary, home secretary J.B. Tubid, DGP G.S. Rath and Pradhan.

The Union rural development ministry has promised special assistance to Latehar’s Sarju-Kone area on the lines of the ongoing Rs 249 crore Saranda Development Plan in the forest of West Singhbhum that was cleared of Maoists after a sustained armed offensive between April- September.

DGP Rath said the Delhi meeting would focus on development as well as security aspects that were to be followed in extremist-affected areas of the state. “There have been less instances of Maoist activity in the recent past. The state needs to control other breakaway factions too. Recently, an offensive against PLFI was launched in Khunti and neighbouring districts of Gumla and Simdega,” he added.