Top officials of Maoist-hit states to meet on Feb 22

With red terror continuing in different parts of the country, the Home Ministry has convened a meeting of top police and civil officers of Maoist-affected states on February 22 to take stock of anti-Maoist operations and fine tune the strategy.

Chief secretaries and directors general of police of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh will take part in the meeting that will have in-depth deliberations on the security situation in the Maoist belt.

Official sources said the top officials would fine-tune the issue of coordination among state police and central police forces and firm up a strategy on how to go after the Maoists who often flee from one state to another after committing a crime.

The killing of four BSF personnel in Odisha’s Malkangiri last week is expected to figure in the meeting as such incidents keep happening despite the Home Ministry suggesting security personnel to take maximum precautions while travelling in Maoist-dominated areas.

The meeting will also review the development programmes being carried out in Naxal-affected districts and ways to speed them up to reach the maximum number of people.

Naxal violence has been reported in areas falling under 270 police stations in 64 districts in eight states.

The level of violence in left-wing extremism-affected states is still unacceptably high with 447 civilians and 142 security personnel killed in 2011.

The central government has shouldered its share of responsibility in dealing with the Maoists and has deployed 71 battalions (comprising around 71,000 personnel) of paramilitary forces.

The budget allocation under the head of security-related expenditure has been increased to Rs337 crore in 2011-12 as against only Rs80 crore in 2008-09.

The government is also implementing an ambitious Integrated Action Plan (IAP) in 60 selected tribal and backward Maoist-affected districts since 2010. The scheme has been extended to 18 more districts since December 2011.

Various development schemes like construction of roads, bridges, school buildings, providing drinking water facilities to rural population, besides sanitation and electric works, are being being carried out through it.

The government sanctioned Rs25 crore in 2010-11 and Rs30 crore in 2011-12 to each of these districts through which 63,416 projects were set up and 26,593 projects completed, incurring an expenditure of Rs1,391 crore till 2011.

The funds for the project are placed at the disposal of a committee headed by the district collector to oversee its implementation.

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