New Delhi: The Centre has proposed additional funds, forces and a unified command for the states affected by the Naxal menace. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram requested the state governments of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal to create a unified command for anti-Naxal operations while addressing the meeting of chief ministers of Naxal-infested states called by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Wednesday.
"Government will sanction additional SPOs (Special Police Officers) to the states and requests the state governments of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal to create a unified command for anti-Naxal operations. The Government will appoint a retired Major General of the Army as a member of the unified command. We request the four state governments to appoint an Inspector General of Police as IG (Anti-Naxal operations) for that state. The Government will also appoint an Inspector General, Central Reserve Police Force as IG (Operations) for that state to work in close coordination with the IG (anti-Naxal operations) of that state," said Chidambaram.
Admitting the Naxals have gained an upper hand against security forces in the recent times Chidambaram said that the most serious setbacks were in Silda (West Bengal), Tarmetla, Chingawaram and Dhaudhai (all in Chhattisgarh).
The anti-Naxal plan also proposes to provide more helicopters for logistics support, troop movement and supplies.
"Government will fund the establishment/strengthening of 400 police stations in the affected districts at the rate of Rs 2 crore per police station on 80:20 basis over a period of two years," Chidambaram told the chief ministers.
Chidambaram also announced that the Centre was planning to roll out a development plan for the Naxal-hit areas, which are mostly mineral-rich but with poor infrastructure.
"Government will set up an empowered group chaired by Member-Secretary, Planning Commission to modify existing norms/guidelines in the implementation of various development schemes having regard to the local needs and conditions in the affected districts," he said.
"The planning commission is considering a special development plan for the affected districts/states with emphasis on road connectivity, primary education, primary health care and drinking water. Consultations have been held with the state governments and it is expected that the plan will be placed before the competent authority, shortly, for approval," he added.
He advised the state governments to implement PESA (Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act strictly and vigorously and to ensure that rights over minor forest produce are assigned to the gram sabhas.
States were also asked to improve road connectivity in 34 districts most affected by Naxal menace. Chidambaram announced that a number of roads and bridges are proposed to be included at a cost of Rs 950 crore by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways under RRP-I.
He also said that states should come up with their plans and tell Centre the measures required to be taken to curb the Naxal menace.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said there should be an integrated action plan to deal with the rebels.
"Different states have different ways of dealing with the Naxals. We have to come up with an integrated action plan and the states have to come to a consensus on at least one issue," said Singh.
But there is little consensus over the anti-Naxal battleplan. West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has skipped the Prime Minister's meeting while Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has lashed out at the Centre, saying his state has not received adequate support from the Manmohan Singh Government.
"Bihar has not received the requisite support from Central Government. There has been no change in the number of Central paramilitary companies deployed in Bihar over the last several years. In fact, after the last meeting on October 8, 2009, though the number of Central paramilitary forces deployed in other Naxal-affected states were increased, Bihar did not receive a single additional company," claimed Nitish.
The meeting is being attended by the chief ministers of Orissa, Chhattisgarh Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.