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States use Naxals to get more funds from Centre

Last updated on: July 26, 2010 09:58 IST

States use Naxals to get more funds from Centre

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BS Reporter in New Delhi

With the Centre showing readiness to spend on development to counter Left-wing insurgency, getting more of their districts declared Naxal-affected seemed to be a common idea across state chief ministers at today's National Development Council meet.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked the Centre to add 10 more districts under the Naxal-area scheme.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar asked for all 33 districts in his state to be declared Naxal-hit.

Andhra Pradesh said it was 'imperative' to get at least seven districts under the special development fund in this regard, while Uttar Pradesh's Mayawati wanted Mirzapur and Chandauli regions to be brought under this net.

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Image: Naxalites with bow and arrows.
Photographs: Reuters
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West Bengal demanded Purulia and Bankura districts be made eligible for the special category help.

The demand of the states for more funds to tackle Naxalism came in the backdrop of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's renewed emphasis on better implementation of development programmes in tribal heartlands.

"These areas must be provided with additional resources for development and the development programmes must be aligned to the special circumstances of these areas," Singh said.

The Planning Commission would, he said, design a comprehensive programme for these areas in consultation with the states.

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Image: Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.

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"Our development schemes have not worked well in these backward and impoverished parts of our country.

We must make a concerted effort to bridge the development deficit in these backward areas and reduce whatever sense of alienation that may exist among the adivasis living in these areas," the prime minister said.

As he reiterated that the security challenge against the Naxals was a joint responsibility of "the Centre and the states cooperating fully with one another", Singh also asked the states to effectively implement the Forest Rights Act and the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act.

"We must recognise that good governance alone gives people a sense of participation and empowerment. Failure to implement these laws in letter and spirit reduces the credibility of our commitment to bring development to these neglected areas," he said.

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Photographs: Reuters
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The one CM to demand a strong line on policing as the answer and to indicate that the problem was in a lack of this was Gujarat's strongman, Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The Naxal threat, he said, was a result of crisis in governance, political ambivalence and "occasional soft-peddling" by opportunistic political parties.

"Even certain gestures by responsible people sitting in the high places of governance will hinder our battle against the Naxals," he declared, indicating that he was talking of specific personalities.

Others, however, went by the development-is-key line. Chhattigarh's Raman Singh harped on raising the pace of creation of infrastructure to combat Naxals. And, attacked the reasoning that private mining activity was leading to discontent among tribals.

"In my state, mining of over 86 per cent coal and 98 per cent iron ore is being done by Central PSUs," he said. And, Nitish Kumar said fighting among political parties was helping the Left cause.


Image: A file photograph of Naxalites.

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