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State seeks more aid for rebel zones

Ranchi, Oct. 18: Jharkhand today demanded more funds from the Centre under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) and Rural Roads Project — a scheme of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana — in a clear intent to defeat left-wing extremism by pushing through development initiatives.

Representatives of Jharkhand, during a meeting on Naxalite-affected states convened by the home ministry in New Delhi, contended that schemes such as Saranda Development Plan and several central and state sponsored projects, including IAP, had proved useful in curbing the influence of Maoist and other rebel outfits in the districts.

“We have sought more assistance from the Centre in IAP and Rural Roads Project. During the meeting, several security measures to be followed in Naxalite-affected states were also discussed,” state home secretary J.B. Tubid told The Telegraph over phone.

Under IAP, funds to the tune of Rs 30 crore has been earmarked for each of the 17 Naxalite-hit districts of Jharkhand this financial year. The central plan is aimed at infrastructure upgrade in Naxalite strongholds in order to undermine the clout of rebels.

Sources said Jharkhand was allocated around Rs 600 crore for this fiscal under the Rural Roads Project.

The state officials also discussed the Rs 450 crore proposed development plan, in line with the Centre’s initiative in Saranda, for the Sarju-Kone area of Latehar district.

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh has earlier promised the Centre’s assistance for the plan in Latehar.

Jharkhand has an adequate presence of central paramilitary personnel to combat the Naxalites along with state police. No major incident of Naxalite-sponsored violence has been reported from any part of the state in the recent past. However, CPI(Maoist) breakaway faction PLFI has been rearing its head in Khunti, Simdega and Gumla districts, where number of civilian killings have gone up.

Meanwhile, the draft hostage policy concerning Naxalites was also discussed during the meeting. The ministry, in the policy, had recently proposed to the states concerned that there should be negotiations with Maoists, but no release of hardcore rebels.

State chief secretary S.K. Choudhary, DGP G.S. Rath and IG (operations and special branch) S.N. Pradhan also attended the meeting.