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Kumar stresses on security, governance

Ranchi, Feb. 4: Governor’s adviser K. Vijay Kumar will focus on strengthening the security apparatus and good governance during the latest stint of President’s Rule in Jharkhand where political turbulence and weak administration has left the state grappling with left-wing extremism for over 12 years.

“Security measures and good and effective governance with stress on expediting development work will go hand in hand. I have already asked department heads (principal secretaries and secretaries) to give me detailed action plans with short-term, mid-term and long-term goals,” Kumar told The Telegraph in an exclusive interaction at the state guesthouse at Morabadi last week.

Kumar, who was named adviser to governor Syed Ahmed along with Madhukar Gupta, holds charge of 18 government departments including important ones like home, health, HRD, road construction and mines.

A regular visitor to Jharkhand when he was CRPF director-general, Kumar (60) was hopeful that the results of their efforts would be felt by people soon.

He expressed concern that despite being riddled with the menace of left-wing extremism persistently, Jharkhand had failed to conduct fresh recruitments of police sub-inspectors after the last batch was appointed in 1994 in undivided Bihar.

A test was conducted last year, but the probationers are yet to complete their training.

“In the same period, the strength of the constabulary increased from a low of 23,000 to 70,000. There is requirement of more, but in these years nothing was done to fill the posts of mid-rung police station in-charges, which probably affected general policing in the state in many ways,” Kumar said, hinting at a likelihood of a fresh recruitment drive soon.

What the former CRPF director general finds most challenging is undermining Naxalite clout in several pockets by means of sound governance and administration.

He said the state was set to get reinforcements with two battalions of CRPF (promised by the Centre more than a month ago) and one of Specialised India Reserve Battalion to add teeth to anti-Naxalite operations in Palamau, Latehar and Garhwa.

Civilians continue to be caught in the crossfire between security forces and rebels in the Naxalite-prone districts, the most recent example being the death of four villagers when a bomb planted by Maoists under a jawan’s body exploded in Amuatikar forest of Latehar last month.

The villagers were asked by the troops to lift the body of the jawan.

Kumar, who was director general of CRPF when Saranda forest was purged of rebels in 2011 after a protracted operation code-named Anaconda, will naturally pay special attention to the former Maoist bastion.

Hep will monitor upgrading of facilities in CRPF camps — particularly drinking water facilities in the West Singhbhum forests where as many as 24 CRPF and India Reserve Battalion camps are to be set up.

The adviser is aware that he has limited time in hand.