Thursday, June 04, 2009

Maharashtra plan: Rs 100-cr boost for police, tighter borders in Naxal areas

Express news service
Posted: Wednesday, Jun 03, 2009 at 0239 hrs IST

Mumbai: After the recent Naxalite attacks led to the death of police personnel, the Maharashtra Government has accepted that it was faced with a "war situation" in Gadchiroli district and has come up with a Rs 100-crore plan to strengthen the state police department in the Naxal-affected district.

The state's plan is to secure its porus borders, connecting Maharashtra's Naxalite affected region with other states, with 15 armed posts manned by SRPF personnel. Home Minister Jayant Patil made the announcement on Tuesday in the Lower House following a heated debate by the Opposition Shiv Sena-BJP on the Naxalite attacks and the state's failure to protect the innocent citizens and policemen in the Gadchiroli area.

“Rs 100 crore allocation will be made in the Budget for restructuring the police department by setting up anti-Naxalite centres from Nagpur to Gadchiroli and combing the Nagpur, Gondia and Gadchiroli police ranges under a DIG. In the next one week, approvals will be sought and work will begin,” he said, adding that the Government was firm on finishing the Naxalite menace and taking action to change the ground reality.

The plan includes increasing the armed outposts at the border areas from the existing five to 15. “We have realised that armed outposts in the border area need to be increased. There have been instances of Naxalites attacking and moving to the neighboring state to evade identification,” Patil said. These armed posts will have 60 SRPF personnels unlike the regular 12 men. The borders will also be protected by construction of periphery wall and will have watchtowers at regular intervals.

Patil also said that the Unconventional Operation Training Center at Nagpur will be also upgraded and Wadsa Desaiganj in Gadchiroli will have an SRPF Group 13 squad.

After the Opposition came down heavily on the Government's inability to improve the socio-economic scenario in Gadchiroli and Gondia districts leading to increasing influence of the Naxalites, Patil promised implementation of the state's proposed Rs 1,386-crore Special Action Plan to improve infrastructure and uplift people's lives through projects and provide better road connectivity.

The Opposition, which adjourned the House proceedings earlier in the day to discuss the Naxalite menace, however, staged a walkout after Patil's reply.

“Even after making allocations of hundreds of crores, the money never gets used, this is just another plan by the state Government. We expected the state to take the issue to the Centre and solve it through a meeting with the Prime Minister,” said Leader of Opposition Ramdas Kadam

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