Saturday, July 25, 2009

3,000 more SPOs to combat ultras

Express News Service

First Published : 25 Jul 2009 05:07:37 AM ISTLast Updated : 25 Jul 2009 11:03:36 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today made several announcements in the Assembly to tackle the growing activities of the Naxalites in the State.

The State Government has decided to recruit 3,000 more special police officers (SPOs) from the tribal and Naxalite affected districts of the State to combat Naxalism, Naveen said replying to the discussion on the Home Department budget. At present the State has 2,100 SPOs.

Besides, the State Government will engage 4,000 more home guards in the affected districts. The duty call allowance of the home guards will be increased from Rs 90 per day now to Rs 110. A decision has also been taken to enhance the maximum period of engaging the home guards in a year from 220 to 300 days, he said. At present, the State Government engages 15,708 home guards.

Naveen announced that special steps are being taken to open at least one ITI in every block.

He said that the Government has plans to open 100 more ITIs in different parts of the State during the next two years. This will improve the employability of youths in tribal areas, he said.

Admitting that a large number of posts of para-medical staff such as multi-purpose health workers, pharmacists and nurses are lying vacant in tribal areas, Naveen said that he has directed the Health Department to take immediate steps to fill up all the vacancies, about 1,000, in the scheduled districts of the State.

In order to improve tribal girls’ education, the State has decided to set up 1,000 new girls’ hostels in tribal areas, he said.

Naveen said that more than 9,000 forest cases and 3,000 other cases have been dropped against the tribals.

The Chief Minister maintained that it was difficult for the Government till 2005 to take any steps to strengthen the police in view of the empty exchequer left by the previous government. Police did not even have funds for purchasing petrol for their jeeps, he said.

He recalled that while travelling as a union minister to Ganjam district after the super cyclone in 1999, the pilot jeep stopped midway because it did not have fuel. I had to arrange money, he said

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