Hyderabad: Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, who toured some of the districts in Andhra Pradesh, on Saturday emphatically stated that the only way out to check Naxalism was to concentrate on development in rural areas particularly in districts where majority of the villagers were tribals.
He admitted that Naxalism could be brought under check only through development.
A high level review meeting was held at the Secretariat by the Union Minister and Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, accompanied by state Ministers Dokka Manikya Varaprasad Rao, (Rural Development) Pasupuleti Balaraju (Tribal Development) and Kanna lakshminarayana trying to address the Naxal problem.
Chief Secretary S V Prasad and other top officials concerned were also present.
Mr Ramesh earlier interacted with the district Collectors of Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, Nalgonda, Warangal, Karimnagar, Mahabubnagar, Adilabad and Khammam on the issue.
After touring Chhattisgarh, the Union Minister came here to share the views of the Chief Minister and other officials and then announced a series of measures to be taken to contain the Naxal problem.
He laid stress on development particularly where the Tribals were in majority.
The Union Minister also informed that a Bill, after a debate, would be coming up soon in Parliament to repeal the 117 year old Act of 1894, to bring about changes, introduce relief and rehabilitation package for displaced families, sensitive land acquisition in rural areas among others.
“By and large Tribals contributed to the growth of Naxalism,” the Union Minister said. He continued, “Tribals are the main contributors for the Naxals’ spread. Over a period of 60 years, 150 lakh persons had been displaced in the country and Tribals formed two thirds of these unfortunate persons,” Mr Ramesh stated.
He added that so far 60 districts have been identified which were affected by Naxals.
In Andhra Pradesh, Khammam and Adilabad districts have been identified as Left Wing affected districts.
As part of the efforts to check the Naxal activities, stress was laid on development of highways, infrastructure, information network and living standards of the villagers in order to wean the people away from the Naxals’ influence.
The Union Minister informed that Rs 11,000 crore has been allotted to Andhra Pradesh for rural development. The share of the state was only Rs 7500 crore but considering the state’s population it deserved more allotment he said.
Rs 90000 crore was spent for village development which is next to the expenditure on defence department on which Rs 170000 crore was spent.
For national Rrural Employment Guarantee Scheme Rs 40,000 crore was spent and under PMGSY, Rs 20000 crore was spent in the country, Mr Ramesh pointed out.
Stating that 60 districts have been identified as Naxal-hit areas, the Union Minister said that five factors were responsible for spreading Naxalism. The evil is likely to spread to 60 to 78 districts in the country and land disputes and other social problems gave rise to problem, he said.
Tribals’ districts, forest rich and minerals rich areas, tri-junction areas and areas of districts remaining far away from the state capitals.
The Union Minister was of the opinion that the only method that could control the Naxal activities is to go ahead with developmental programmes in the rural areas.
He announced that Rs 120 crore during three years for providing a job per household, Rs 10 crore from MPLAD funds for storage facilities in tribal areas particularly in Khammam and Adilabad districts, special funds for SHGs, legal aid in eight districts for resolving land disputes at a cost of Rs 90 crore would be used to stop the youth from being weaned away by the Naxal ideology.
Besides, nutritional day care Centre assistance will be extended to left wing affected areas and Rs 1800 crore to be spent on inter-state road network in the tri-junctions of the state.
A proposal is under study for all-weather connectivity for over 7000 km (in category II) costing Rs 2616 crore, 2725 km at a cost of Rs 1191 crore under category III, under PMGSY.
A special project is also under study for improving infrastructure to step up governing standards in tribal areas. Another proposal was to book the unskilled work in housing programme for poor under MGNREG subject to non-violation of 60:40 wage material ratio.(INN)