HOMELAND SECURITY: Rs 1100cr boost for 11 districts

HOMELAND SECURITY: Rs 1100cr boost for 11 districts – but will this get to the root cause of the problem and correct it from there, or just water and money under the bridge to further exacerbate the problem ?!!

1100 cr boost: At a glance - to get at the problem's roots ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH

BY AMIT GUPTA

Ranchi, June 9: The fight against Naxalites and development activity in rebel-affected areas are set to get a much-needed impetus over the next two years.

Authorities in 11 rebel-affected districts of Jharkhand, which are among 33 across the country, have been told by the Planning Commission to prepare development plans to the tune of Rs 100 crore each for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscals.

Since the beginning of the month, deputy commissioners of the districts concerned have been working on plans that take into account road and bridge connectivity, power infrastructure and availability, improvement in health and education services, and skill development of local youths to increase their employability, among other parameters.

“Planning Commission advisers have already visited our district. They discussed the nature of plans to be taken up in the next two years to ensure that affected areas witness a sea change in terms of development,” said Gumla deputy commissioner Rahul Sharma told The Telegraph.

Over the next two years, 11 districts would get central assistance of about Rs 1,100 crore for utilisation over two fiscals.

The current exercise follows Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking the Planning Commission on May 26 to work out a special package for Naxalite-affected regions.

Tomorrow, a senior official of the Planning Commission, Ranjan Chatterjee, is scheduled to hold a meeting with deputy commissioners concerned in Ranchi.

Chief secretary Ashok Kumar Singh would chair the meeting, expected to start at 10am, at Project Building. Development plans prepared by respective districts would be submitted during the crucial meeting.

The 11 advisers of the Planning Commission had been visiting the districts since June 6. The beneficiary districts are Palamau, Chatra, Garhwa, Latehar, Gumla, Lohardaga, East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, Hazaribagh, Bokaro and Ramgarh. The advisers would also be present at tomorrow’s meeting.

Another deputy commissioner, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they had been told to ensure that projects are taken up in such a manner that their impact would be felt within a short time.

“The focus would be to rope in village youths in development projects as well as provide them training in different vocations so that they do not get attracted towards the Maoists. This would be a challenge for us,” said the deputy commissioner.

At present, Jharkhand is under President’s rule and Union home minister P. Chidambaram is expected to visit the state soon.

An offensive against the rebels is on in the state for the last six months with presence of six battalions of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and another battalion of Cobra. No major incidents of Naxalite violence have been reported in the last couple of months.

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