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Damper for Mamata

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 25.07.10
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New Delhi, July 24: The Prime Minister today said the Centre and the states would continue to meet the Maoist challenge together, days after Mamata Banerjee demanded that the joint forces be withdrawn from Bengal’s Lalgarh.

“There should be no doubt that the security challenge posed by Left-wing extremism has to be met and it will be met, with the Centre and the states cooperating fully with one another,” Manmohan Singh told the National Development Council meeting here.

Singh did not name Bengal but few in the audience, made up largely by chief ministers and Union ministers, was left in any doubt who his comments were directed at.

On Wednesday, Mamata had said she would take up the issue of withdrawal of central forces from Lalgarh with the Prime Minister, if needed. “Our Prime Minister is a good person. He will definitely hear me out,” she had said.

The railway minister skipped today’s meeting, as did Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Bengal health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra read out a message from Bhattacharjee that urged the Centre to include Bankura and Purulia in the official list of Maoist-hit districts, which receive special development funds from Delhi.

West Midnapore is already on the list, the message reminded the Centre. “Since Purulia and Bankura are also significantly affected (by Maoists), the state government urges the Government of India to include these two districts also for sanction of special funds for development,” it said.

Singh said that armed action against the Maoists should be supplemented by development. He asked the Planning Commission to “design a holistic development programme” for Maoist-hit areas in consultation with the states and other stakeholders, stressing the need to bring development “particularly (to) the Adivasis living in these areas”.