Saturday, August 26, 2006

Rise of non-State actors

Governments often speak of “poverty” or “deprivation” as among the root causes of terrorism, and there is much rhetoric about addressing basic issues which, it is believed, create fertile terrain for fundamentalists and extremists. There is a problem for governments in their promises to address poverty and exclusion in their countries, for global market-distributed rewards, which make some people billionaires, also deprive many more of basic sustenance.
The intervention of governments to “lift people out of poverty” is seriously compromised by the project of globalisation; yet they cannot admit their impotence, since what are governments, if not the embodiment of power; sanctified in democracies by the will of the people?
If governments cannot implement that will, they acknowledge their own powerlessness or redundancy. This may be one reason why a shadowy entity called the “international community” has been mobilised, to realise the “millennium goals” of poverty reduction. Multilateral efforts diffuse any blame that might otherwise taint governments which undertake this mission locally, that is, within the borders over which they maintain an ostensibly sovereign control.
A pattern of convergence arises in places where outlawed or fundamentalist groups have gained significant popular support, and this unites such disparate ~ and, in theory at least, warring, groups ~ such as Islamic militants, Maoists, drug gangs and other “non-state actors”.
This suggests such movements are indeed responding at the local level to the failure of governments to respond to impoverishment and unbelonging.
One of the most striking aspects of this has been the tendency for banned groups to set up at least rudimentary health care, education and protection, which the State either cannot or will not do.
Hamas was voted to power by the Palestinians, because they were perceived as the most likely deliverer of basic services, welfare and protection which a corrupt, Fatah-led Palestinian Authority had been incapable of supplying.
The relative calm of Basra in southern Iraq, compared to the lawless situation in Baghdad and the Sunni areas since the invasion and occupation, is a result of Shia militias creating a measure of security, discipline and social order.
Hezbollah in southern Lebanon has not, as the Israelis claim, placed its weaponry among the civilian population, but lives among them, operating an extensive and dynamic welfare programme for the 40 per cent of Lebanon’s Shias, who comprise 40 per cent of the population.
The growth of madrasas in Bangladesh has been made easier as a result of the failure of State education services to reach the poor. Substitute or compensatory structures will always evolve wherever people feel themselves victims of injustice or discrimination: the fact that these take on different forms should not blind us to their common origin.
In Nepal Maoists promised social transformation to the impoverished and neglected countryside; their success, which has involved recourse to arms, has gained them growing power and parity with existing political parties and a role in curbing the power of the monarchy.
They are now regarded as lawful negotiating partners in discussions on the future direction and control of Nepal.
The Maoists in certain parts of India have sought to follow a similar path. In the early 1980s, Maoists made their appearance in the beautiful but socially desolate area of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, where the great majority of villages had no basic medical services, and only a handful had government ration-shops, while education existed for most children only on paper.
The slogan of the Maoists 25 years ago was “Jal, jangal jameen hamara hai (Water, Forests and Land Belong to Us)”, and they organised against corrupt officials, moneylenders and middlemen.
They gave the people basic education and medical support. It is no mystery why these areas should have come under their control: people believe in them.
Similarly unwelcome phenomena arise in the very different environment of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil. The drug gangs, whose bloody battles are duly chronicled by the global media, actually provide vigilante justice in places where the police are corrupt and the writ of the state does not run.
In some slums, representatives of drug gangs decide who may and may not enter the favela. Religious and educational services have to be approved by the drug-lords, who also offer sports facilities, cheap entertainment, transport and even food to the destitute.
They are regarded as “benefactors” by many slumdwellers, who are prepared to tolerate continuous conflict between police and those who have established their fiefdoms, a kind of narco-feudalism which rivals the power of the state.
It seems that all over the world, where governments have retreated from any role in the establishment of social justice ~ part of the dominant ideology of the Washington consensus ~ others have rushed into the vacuum.
Whether these players are called terrorists, criminal gangs, anti-social elements, insurgents or political extremists scarcely matters. They are merely a symptom of the crisis in global governance; it is only to be expected that the form the resistance takes will vary, according to the circumstances, the nature of the oppression and the form of the destitution, and also upon which groups can command the faith of the people.
The outcast and the humiliated of the world do not always obligingly follow known prescriptions in their revolt against oppression, much to the discomfiture of both mainstream political parties and orthodox Leftists.
They may espouse all kinds of ideologies - from millennial cults, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, “Naxalism”, or apocalyptic sects that arise in the heart of Western democracies ~ as occurred with the self-immolation of adherents of the Solar Temple in Europe, the Waco Siege of the Branch Dravidian in 1993, or the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana in 1978; in Africa, Mike Davis, in his Planet of Slums, chronicles the rise of Pentecostal sects and the proliferation of prophets and preachers, and a recurrent belief in sorcery and witchcraft, including the “child-witches” of Kinshasa.
The one thing these movements have in common is that they are responses of despair to the impotence ~ willed or involuntary ~ of governments, which do not simply fail to diminish inequality, but actually make a virtue of this, since they are committed to “pushing back the frontiers of the state”.
This is supposed to give free rein to entrepreneurs, wealth-creators and other makers of fortunes, who, the fable runs, are the most likely alleviators of poverty. If ever there was a time for greater concerted international intervention in the mitigation of an apparently unstoppable worsening of poverty and injustice, it is now; laissez-faire, as we ought to have learned from the early industrial era in Britain, produces outcomes that are contrary both to civilised values and social peace.
It seems extraordinary that we should wait for instruction in these matters from the drug-lords of Rio, Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Maoist fundamentalists; and even more astonishing that an all-powerful “international community” appears paralysed, incapable of a half-adequate response to the disorder its own ideology has engendered.

(The author lives in Britain. He has written plays for the stage, TV and radio, made TV documentaries, published more than 30 books and contributed to leading journals around the world. email:yrn63@dial.pipex.com)

Arms for GRP & RPF to fight Maoists

Rajib Chatterjee

KOLKATA, Aug. 26.— Given that railway lines are a soft target for Maoist rebels active in the western region of West Bengal and its neighbouring states, the South-Eastern Railway authorities have decided to provide sophisticated arms and ammunition to the Government Railway Police and the Railway Protection Force for escorting important trains through rebel-infested areas.

Terror strikes in Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore and in Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa have caused the decision, taken on 31 July at the SER’s headquarters in Garden Reach at a meeting presided over by its general manager, Mr VK Raina, and attended by senior police officers of the four affected states. Senior officers of the RPF, members of the Railway Board and GRP officers were present too.

The meeting followed intelligence tip-offs that passenger trains could be the next Maoist target, said a senior railway official. An SER note says: “...(A) discussion was held (on) the recent activities of terrorists, making (the) railway a soft target. To curb subversive activities, ...joint efforts by state police, the RPF and the GRP” (were stressed) and “Mr TK Sanyal, IG, RPF,” spoke of fear-inducing “incidents on the Chakradharpur-Monharpur, Muri and Harubera sections of Jharkhand,” whilst expressing concern about passengers’ security. Mr AK Abrol, ADG (RPF), too attended the meeting. It was decided that officers of the GRP and the RPF would exchange information to forestall Maoist strikes.

Though Mr Raina could not be contacted, Mr Debashis Chandra, chief public relations officer of the SER, said: “A high-level meeting was held recently to examine the existing security set-up and to introduce a new system to avert subversive activities.”

Naxals gun down old farmer for defying their diktat

Saturday August 26 2006 11:03 IST

GUNTUR: The CPI-Maoists shot dead a farmer, who is also the president of the local water users association of Guttikonda village in Piduguralla mandal, in the wee hours of Friday.

The farmer, identified as Nalavolu Naraiah (75) was trying to cultivate on some endowment lands, which the Maoists had already distributed to the Dalits and the backward communities in the village.

Early on Friday, four armed Naxals came and jolted Naraiah out of his sleep. He was shot from point blank range. He died on the spot.

Naraiah’s family has been enjoying the endowment lands in the village, but the Naxals had distributed the land to the Dalits in 2002. When the family members defied the Naxal diktats and tried to cultivate the lands, the Naxals had killed Naraiah’s relatives N Borraiah and N Srinivasa Rao in 2003 and 2004.

Piduguralla CI B Seetaramayya, who visited the place of incident, arranged for shifting Naraiah’s body for post-mortem at the government hospital in Gurajala.



WHAT IS THE RESPONSE OF PUCL AND HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS ?

West Zone Council panel discusses internal security

NT Staff Reporter

Panaji, Aug 25: The top executives of the states of Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat, who form the standing committee of the West Zonal Council, today discussed various issues relating to terrorism, Naxalism, law and order and economic problems faced by the member states and Union territories of the council.

Briefing reporters after the meeting of the top executives of three states and Union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Mr J P Singh, the Goa Chief Secretary who heads the committee, said that various pending issues of the council members were also discussed with central government officials representing various ministries and departments.

The recommendations of this meeting would form the agenda for the meeting of the chief ministers of the states, which is scheduled to be held in Goa on September 11. The meeting will be chaired by the Chief Minister, Mr Pratapsingh Rane, who now heads the council.

Mr Singh told reporters that the Narcotics Control Bureau has turned down Goa’s plea for setting up a sub-office in the state but has assured all help to the anti-narcotic cell of the state police to control drug trafficking. He said that the meeting expressed concern over the involvement of Israelis, Russians and Nigerians in drug trafficking and the states have been directed to monitor their movements. He also said that meeting also decided on streamlining reporting of foreigners and to maintain watch on their activities.

The meeting also discussed issues relating to modernisation of the police force in every member state and prison reforms and also agreed to avail funds from central government for the purpose.

The Goa Chief Secretary further said that top executives also reviewed internal security and decided to gather micro-level intelligence to combat terrorist and Naxal activities. He also said following advisory by the central government all vital installations have been put under strict guard. He further said that Maharashtra has agreed to meet Goa’s need for armed police till the Goa’s armed force is ready.

The meeting also discussed the issue of rationalisation of taxes and exemptions, said Mr Singh adding that it was brought to the notice of the central authorities that they (exemptions given to five states) were discriminatory to states.

To this the central government officials replied that the benefit of tax and other exemptions would be given to those industries who set up industries by March 2007 and that no relocation of factories would be allowed, said the Goa Chief Secretary adding that they also assured that circumvention of the laws would not be permitted.

He also said that the central government officials also informed that the state had enjoyed the benefit in the recent past and that Goa with its superior infrastructure could not be compared with the beneficiary states. He also said that central authorities have assured to look into the issue of Rs 70 reduction in excise duty collection in the state.

He also said that establishment of Special Economic Zone would help export promotion but institutional approach was needed for their success. He said that notification to set up SEZ would be issued soon so that its benefits start accruing. He also said that SEZ would help employment generation and would facilitate setting up of ancillary units here.

Other issues that were discussed at the meeting included trafficking in women and children, health care, tourism and coastal security, said Mr Singh adding that members have agreed to adhere to central action plan on coastal security to prevent flow of arms along the coastal line. He said three coastal police stations would be set up in Goa. Various other issues, which included Right to Information Act and delays in approval by the All India Council for Technical Education for starting new technical institutes, were also discussed at the meeting, he said.

He also said that bilateral issues between Goa and Maharashtra, like amount due from Maharashtra to Goa for ferry service between Kiranpani and Aronda, disposal of hazardous waste and coastal highways were also discussed and it was decided to sort out the issues.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Naxal statement on Errabore massacre

Naxal statement on Errabore massacre

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Naxalites ransack forest office

Manipal, August 24: A group of Naxalites attacked the divisional forest office (wildlife), about 13 km from Sringeri, on the border of Chikmagalur and Udupi districts in the wee hours yesterday and destroyed documents and furniture, besides setting a jeep on fire, a senior forest official said.


The 17-member armed gang, including five women, forced the two forest watchmen to move out of the office before ransacking it and destroying documents and furniture, Chennaiah, Superintendent, Anti-Naxalite Force (ANF) said.


"Before ransacking the office, the gang pasted bills and pamphlets of Maoist literature and also warned the authorities to remove the nearby Thanikod check-post," he told reporters.


Meanwhile, combing operations in and around Sringeri forest area in Chikmagalur district by the ambush party and ANF are on. (Agencies)

Eagle's Eye: How not to fight Naxalitism

Our own reform and good governance hold the key to fighting Naxlitism. The enemy is to be fought with credible performance, not sophisticated arms- Dharmendra Nath
Much has been written and talked of about how to fight Naxalitism. Most of it suggests taking certain initiatives and new actions. However, since it is easier to stop doing something than to start something anew, it may be worthwhile to analyse what it is that we can stop doing to help us in this fight.

Naxalitism is not a physical enemy. It is essentially an ideology in arms. It arises from a crisis of faith. Its ideological appeal is that it stands for a fairer and a more egalitarian society than what we have been able to achieve. Like most ideologies this one also has got perverted in practice and manifests itself in extreme forms of cruelty and violence. Hence the need to defend the society against it.

To my mind our best defence may be to reform ourselves and in this sense the emergence of Naxlitism may be seen more as a timely warning and an opportunity than as a threat. In the past Republicans won against the feudal order and monarchy the world over because the latter failed to reform themselves. Today something similar seems to be happening to our ruling bourgeoisie which is failing to reform itself.

How do we fight Naxalitism if our system appears selfish and our rule of law fragile? In this connection two of the government's recent actions invite notice, first the Union government's Office of Profit bill now law, questioned by no less a person than the President and second, Delhi government's crude efforts at legislating condonation of land encroachments and commercial diversions in the Delhi colonies.

How does one swallow our democracy's preoccupation with protecting the offices of profit of the high and the mighty? Must a law maker further adorn himself with executive authority? And why should the Delhi government's priority be - look at the exemplary speed with which the related law was passed, it is quite another matter that the judiciary intervened - the regularization of encroachments and contraventions of building bylaws not by the poor but by those who are certainly not poor looking to high property prices? How can people have faith in their rulers and enforcement of the law in such circumstances?

Not just disregard for the law, its delay also stares us in the face. Ten years or 15 years after the crime and the law is still taking its course. It has reached no conclusion. The discontent it generates is not confined to the seminar rooms. The message goes out. People learn to react to it in real life, some by breaking the law, others by violently protesting against it. Let us not delude ourselves that people are ignoring. Under the breath, may be, they are saying that they do not want justice any more.

Amassed millions of a few without ostensible source for generation of the same and without payment of any taxes are yet another revolting eyesore of our public life. If accidentally these millions are discovered we hear of them one day and thereafter no one knows what finally happened. Do we delude ourselves that people have forgotten it? People see it for what it is, a fraud by those who swore by socialism and service to the poor. Directive Principles of our Constitution require 'that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment'. We seem to be in the process of forgetting it.

All of this gets merged in the people's mind with personal experience of unsatisfactory treatment they receive from government functionaries who they come across almost everyday. The end result of all this is that we have a veritable tinderbox on our hands waiting to be fired.

Tuthmosis 3, the Egyptian phaorah in 1468 BC directed his vizier 'Give as much attention to the man you know as to the man you do not know; no more to he who approaches you in person than to the one who is far away.' Where do we measure up on this scale?

Therefore, when we hear of Naxalite killings in Bijapur or Dantewara of the Bastar region or elsewhere we would do well to see a linkage between that and what has been going on before.

Rural Indians turn to radio over Maoists

Tired of violence, some villagers shun both the government and the rebels and find their own voice.

By Anuj Chopra | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

BAURAHA, INDIA – When villagers in this restive corner of India realized that an official was siphoning off food and fuel meant for the poor, they had a choice. They could go to the authorities, or turn to Maoist rebels.
Worried the government would get bogged down in bureaucracy and the Maoists would only invite bloodshed, the villagers chose a new route: They broadcast their case on community radio.

After their report aired two years ago, administrators were questioned, and the corrupt official was promptly sacked. Distribution of food essentials resumed. Soon after, residents of a nearby village followed suit and drove out an official who was pilfering rice and wheat.

"Such action is unprecedented. It made us marginalized people heard for the first time," says Satendra Kumar Mehta, a local farmer who exposed the Bauraha official on the radio. "It solved our problem."

Tired of the daily toll of Maoist violence, rural people in India's Jharkhand state are experimenting with radio as a potent new tool that promises social transformation - without bloodshed and gore.

"They [the Maoists] come and kill the corrupt. But that doesn't solve our problem," Mr. Mehta says. "Community radio [on the contrary] empowers people to kill corruption."

Local villagers say they are excited to find a voice of their own on the airwaves. During broadcasts, people gather at village schools and community halls with a radio set - still beyond the means of many - for group listening. Many villagers - literate and illiterate alike - actively report stories, and participate in making these radio programs.

Alternative for India Development (AID), a grass-roots nongovernmental organization runs two 30-minute radio programs a week called "Come, let's go to our village" on the government-owned All India Radio. The effort began four years ago in Jharkhand state, and several NGOs are running similar programs in other parts of India.

The program has raised local issues menacing rural people including dowries, feudalism, child labor, alcoholism, education, and healthcare. Slowly, villagers are realizing the power of radio to solve their issues. Often, a story is taken up to shame the torpid administration into action.

Through repeated broadcasts, villagers across Jharkhand were alerted of their rights to demand employment from the government through India's ambitious new Rural Employment Guarantee Program. After hearing of it on the radio, a group of 200 women in the village of Merul barricaded the local Block Development Officer in his office for two days, after he failed to provide work to them. He was let out only after he promised to provide work to all villagers through the program.

A 2001 study by the US-based Rockefeller Foundation says that community radio is one of the best tools to reach the marginalized segments of society who lack other means of communication. The study notes that experiences from Latin America, dating as far back as the 1940s, have demonstrated the potential of community radio for social change - especially in third-world rural areas. And with community radio stations multiplying by the thousands all over the world in the past five decades, the same was being repeated in Asia and Africa.

Radio, analysts say, has several comparative advantages over other media as a tool for social change and participatory communication. It is cost-efficient, for those who run the station and the audiences. Its language and content can be targeted to local needs.

"Ours is a program of the poor, by the poor, and for the poor [using the] power of the radio medium for peaceful social change," says K.T. Arasu, the director of AID. Stories on AID's radio program are presented in the local Maghi dialect, mostly in the form of a musical play. It's something ordinary villagers, many of whom are illiterate, find easy to relate to.

A recent study by Sudhir Pal, the founder of Manthan, a group that runs another community radio program in Jharkhand, reveals that community radio is far more effective in highlighting issues from India's remote countryside than the mainstream media. In the scramble of news pertaining to cities, issues of poverty and development in rural areas get overlooked.

India's Maoists, or Naxalites, claim to be battling government corruption and indifference in the name of those at the bottom rung of society. But that effort, many counter, has come through unlawful means. Naxalites are infamous for imposing "levies" or taxes - between 20 to 30 percent - on those carrying out infrastructure projects in their "domain." Highway contractors, builders, and local businessmen trading in forest produce are all forced to cough up "their share."

The Naxalites are also known to rally the masses and call general strikes - partly by intimidation of the gun.

"We're socialists, too, but our lethal weapons are words, not weapons," says Suresh Kumar, a coordinator with AID. "[Unlike Naxalites] we don't gather masses at gunpoint. We gather them by lending a voice to issues that affect them."

However, Naxalites maintain that in a large, iniquitous society with a diverse population, India can only survive under a socialist regime - and to reach that end, violence is necessary. "Otherwise the rich will get richer, and the poor will only get poorer," says a Maoist leader in an interview in Jharkhand. "An armed agrarian war is the only effective way to make the system break."

A local Naxalite outfit has warned AID to stop their radio program in the region. Two years ago, they gutted one of their audiovisual vans. And the rebels often browbeat local reporters from AID. While the Maoists refused to comment on this issue, many here view this friction as a sign of insecurity over losing influence.

"We must probe for means other than violence," says a former Naxalite. He left the movement out of exasperation with the bloodshed that has left nearly 100 people dead this year in this region alone. Part of mainstream society again, the former rebel now works in community radio, but fears the occasional tiffs with former colleagues.

The government has also been slow to embrace the radio effort. Despite a 1995 court ruling that the airwaves are public, community groups haven't been given licenses to establish their own stations. Broadcasting out of a government-owned station curbs their editorial freedom.

"History teaches us that nonviolent methods are always slow," says Mr. Kumar. "Our results however, are lasting, not ephemeral. We create options for villagers. Unlike the Maoists, we never impose our ways."

Mangalore: Naxals attack forest office at Kerekatte

MANGALORE Aug 24: Naxalites operating in the Malnad region of the State attacked the Range Forest Office at Kerekatte in Chikmagalur district, some 20 km from Sringeri, in the early hours of Wednesday. A group of 18 to 20 armed naxalites descended on the office around 1.30 a.m. and went about destroying property unhindered for nearly 45 minutes.

Inspector-General of Police (Western Range) H.N. Sathyanarayana Rao, who was away in Bangalore to attend an official meeting, rushed to Kerekatte via Mangalore on receiving information of the attack. Mr. Rao said that the naxal group entered the office and burned records. The group also set ablaze a computer and a wireless set.

The naxalites broke windowpanes of the office and went to a shed nearby and set ablaze a jeep parked there, he said. The group, which later targeted the residence of the Range Forest Officer, fled the scene after breaking its windowpanes. The officer was away in Bangalore.

Forest watchers, who were present on the scene, were unable to stop the attack. Mr. Rao said Sringeri police came to know about the incident around 4 a.m., when one of the forest watchers went to Nemmar and informed them. The naxalites had long vanished by the time police reinforcements arrived. The naxalites had snapped telephone lines before entering the area.

Mr. Rao said the police and the anti-naxal force had stepped up combing in the area. Steps had been initiated to coordinate all ongoing operations against them.

Hindu

Maoists abduct five persons in Chhattisgarh

Press Trust of India

Raipur, August 23, 2006


Five villagers have been kidnapped by Naxalites in two separate incidents in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district, police said on Wednesday.

Armed Naxalites stopped a jeep near Gaganpalli village under Errabore police station area, about 550 km from Raipur, and kidnapped four passengers on Tuesday, Dantewada police sources said.

In a similar incident close to that spot, Maoists stopped a truck and kidnapped one person, police said.

"Search parties have been sent, after getting information of that incidents today, to various places to trace the kidnapped persons but police is yet to find anyone," the sources said.

In Errabore on July 17, Naxalites had killed 31 villagers and injured 80, who were staying in the state government-run relief camps and since then the people of that area were living in terror, police said.

In the last one year, 50 policemen and about 300 villagers have been killed and in Naxal-related violence in Dantewada district and over 50,000 villagers were staying in relief camps out of fear from Maoists, police said

Karkala: Naxals on Prowl - Ransack Forest Dept Office, Burn Jeep at Kerekatte

Daijiworld News Network - Karkala (GA)

Karkala, Aug 23: After a long hiatus, Naxalites have once again struck at Kerekatte near Shringeri in the early hours of Wednesday August 23. The reports said that a group of 10-12 Naxalites attacked forest department office at Kerekatte, destroyed all records and even set a jeep on fire.

The Naxalites, who came to the forest department office on Wednesday morning, assaulted the night duty staff and chased them out. Later they destroyed many files, records from the office. Before going, they set the department jeep on fire.

The Naxals have left many pamphlets and other materials related to Naxal movement in the office. The forest department files which were destroyed by Naxalites contained details about encroached land and also about the forest department land in the area.

Since Kerekatte is a small and remote place, there are not many persons travelling in the area in the night or in the early mornings. Moreover, the area has been regarded as the Naxal hamlet and government has declared it as reserve forest area. All these facts have made it quite impossible for the people to go around the area in the odd hours.

Taking advantage of this, Naxalites attacked the office around 1 am on Wednesday and after completing their work, left the place at about 4 am. However, police came to know about the entire episode only in the morning.

Centre to double anti-Naxal forces

UNI


New Delhi, Aug 22: The Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil today informed the Lok Sabha today that the Centre has decided to nearly double the strength of Sashastra Seema Bal to 38 battalions and quickly complete border road construction work to check Naxal violence in Nepal bordering districts in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, West Bengal and Sikkim.

“We will be able to control Naxal violence arising from infiltration of Maoist and other militants and smuggling of sophisticated weapons from Nepal,” Mr Patil said while replying to a debate on a calling attention motion raised by Mr Raghunath Jha and Mr Devendra Prasad Yadav (both RJD).

The minister said the SSB had identified 657 km of roads in the border districts of Bihar which were of operational significance to it and these would be constructed or upgraded in consultation with the state government. Consultations were also on with other state governments for similar steps.

Mr Jha and Mr Yadav said Nepal had undergone a sea change since the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Friendship which facilitated free movement of people of the two countries on either side.

Mr Patil said the government would consider the suggestions for roads in the border districts of Betia, Motihari, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Supaul, Araria, Purnea as well as the ‘specific road’ -Adapur-Raxaul-Ghorasahan-Shivhar-Sitamarhi-Darbhanga-Saharsa-Kishanganj’.

BORDER TERRORISM: As part of its comprehensive approach to promote a sense of security and socio-economic uplift of border areas, the government is implementing the Border Area Development Programme (BADP), the LS was informed.

He also informed that the Prasar Bharti was telecasting programmes patronising the local aspirations and cultural heritage of those people especially in Gojri, Dogri, Balti, Sheena and Pusto among others in Jammu and Kashmir and regional languages and dialects of the north-eastern states.

SECURITY SETUP: The Centre has set up a joint working group (JWG) to discuss security-related issues, including checking militancy and infiltration, at the home secretary level talks with Myanmar and Bangladesh.

He said these issues are discussed regularly and follow up actions taken on the decisions arrived at in such meetings, Minister of State for Home, Mr S Regupathy said in a written reply.

HHH

WILDLIFE BILL: The Rajya Sabha today accorded its approval to the wildlife (protection) Amendment Bill 2005 to protect the tiger population from extinction, as well as measures for the welfare of the tribal population living in jungles.

In his reply to the debate held yesterday, Minister for Environment and Forests, Mr A Raja said that he had held discussions with all the members who had expressed their concern about the diminishing population of the tigers and the issue of tribal people, and had tried to incorporate their valuable suggestions by amending the bill suitably.

The bill was passed amid continuing uproar in the Rajya Sabha by members of the opposition NDA over the ‘Vande Mataram’ issue and the House was adjourned for 30 minutes till 3 p.m. thereafter. The discussion on the bill had concluded yesterday.