Six more districts in Andhra Pradesh may be declared ‘Naxal-affected’ in addition to the existing two, according to Mr Jairam Ramesh, the Union Minister for Rural Development.
The minister was speaking at a public meeting at Hukumpeta near Paderu in the agency (tribal) area of Visakhapatnam district on Sunday afternoon, after planting the millionth tree as a part of the Haryali Mahotsav (tree plantation) undertaken to boost the income levels of Girijans and improve the environment.
“It is a matter of deep worry that tribal areas — mineral-rich, forest-rich areas inhabited mostly by Girijans in the mountainous tracts — are in a state of ferment and unrest. The gap between the Government and Girijans is widening of late, which is being exploited by the Naxals. There is clearly a trust deficit which we have to address,” he remarked.
He said at present 60 districts in the country have been identified as Naxal-affected, including two in Andhra Pradesh (Adilabad and Khammam), and six more districts in Andhra Pradesh may join the list including Visakhapatnam district. “Six mandals out of the 11 mandals in the agency area in the Eastern Ghats in the district are affected by the problem,” he said .