‘Naxals, terror groups in state are Maha worry’: PM

MUMBAI: A day after prime minister Manmohan Singh observed that stepped up naxal violence and enhanced threat from terrorists is a cause of worry, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar independently reviewed the law and order situation in the state.

Addressing the annual conference of DGPs, Manmohan Singh had observed that the ability of left wing extremists to gradually increase their numbers, enhance their military potential and entrench themselves in some areas of the seven affected states is a cause of worry. Similarly, threat from terrorism in the hinterland continues to be a cause of worry, although 19 interdictions have taken place, terrorists were able to strike in Mumbai and Delhi last year and in Pune this year.

According to reports, the PMO had submitted a comprehensive note on terror attacks and naxal attacks in Maharashtra to Sharad Pawar. It was brought to his notice that naxal-infested Gadchiroli district has achieved a dubious distinction of being among the first three worst affected districts across the country.

Taking cognisance of the note, Pawar had summoned state home minister R R Patil and high ranking IPS officials to New-Delhi on the measures to be taken to tackle naxalism, nearer home, Chavan too had a marathon discussion with R R Patil and senior police officials. Certainly, it’s a matter of concern and worry for the law enforcing agencies. However, we feel that on the incidents of naxal violence, the PMO was provided with inadequate information. We have submitted comprehensive information not only to Pawar and Chavan, but even to PMO too. Ofcourse, facts remains that we will have to step up our vigil at all levels,” a senior IPS official told ToI on Thursday.

Elaborating on the situation in the naxal infested Gadchiroli district, the IPS official said, no doubt stringent measures have been taken to take on the naxalites, but tangible results were not visible and there was complete political vacuum in the entire district. In last 15 years, there is absolutely no development in the entire region. Well over 250 elected representatives have resigned in the wake of mounting pressure from naxalites. We have not been able to halt the ever increasing naxal influence in the area,” he said.

At the high level meeting presided over by Chavan, it was brought to his notice that there was no adequate progress in the developmental works owing to large number of vacancies in all the departments. In police, there only 10 per cent vacancies, while in public works, irrigation, education, energy, public health well over 50 per cent of the posts are lying vacant for a period ranging between 10 to 25 years and no steps were taken to fill up the vacancies,” he said.

The IPS official claimed that compared to the law and order situation in 2009, now there was a marked improvement. In 2009, in view of the assembly polls, Gadchiroli had witnessed 41 incidents of major crime, in 2010, 16 incidents were reported, while in 2011-12, less than nine incidents have been reported,” he said.

On Chavan’s response, the official said, the CM has asked the law enforcing agencies to draft a new strategy to tackle naxalism, while directives have been given to chief secretary J K Banthia to take quick steps for filling up vacant posts. CM has asked the CS to fill up vacancies in a time bound period. If officers don’t take their assignment in Gadchiroli, stern disciplinary action will be taken against erring officials,” he said.
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