Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MAHARASTRA: Naxal problem surmountable: Gadkari

TNN 14 July 2009, 04:55am IST

NAGPUR: State BJP president Nitin Gadkari reiterated on Monday that the country's largest paper manufacturer, Ballarpur Industries Ltd (BILT), and

tendu contractors are regularly paying huge amounts to Naxalites to buy peace and safety. He also said that the Naxal problem was surmountable if the government paid attention to developing the remote areas.

Gadkari had levelled allegations that BILT's protection money was financing' the Naxals on Sunday too while delivering the Rambhau Mhalgi memorial lecture in the city. Asked by a reporter during a press conference if he had any proof to substantiate the charge, or if he had taken up the matter with the state government, the BJP leader the fact was "known to all". "The government is aware of it, the state police chief knows it. There may not be tangible evidence like chemical-coated currency notes changing hands between BILT officials and Naxals. But what about the fact that no BILT official has ever been targeted nor its trucks carrying bamboo from the forests ever damaged. Similarly, no tendu contractor has ever been hurt by the Naxals. This is proof in itself that large amounts are paid to Naxalites," stressed Gadkari.

Reacting sharply to chief minister Ashok Chavan's reported remark that the Naxal problem was getting too big for the state police and the Centre should deploy the army to tackle the problem, Gadkari said the statement was "unfortunate and an indication of the state's inefficiency."

"By its inept handling of the situation in 26 /11 Mumbai attacks, the government showed it could not ensure people's safety in the financial capital. Now, accepting defeat before the Naxals is unfortunate. It seems the only thing the Chavan government is capable of is renaming bridges that the Sena-BJP government built or started constructing," said Gadkari, hinting at the recent inauguration of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and the plan to name it after Rajiv Gandhi.

Gadkari said the BJP was confident of handling the Naxal problem, which has spread from Pashupatinath to Tirupati. The red corridor areas are crying for development, he said, while nearer home Gadchiroli was the richest district inhabited by the poorest people in the state.

"There is a need to exploit the natural resources of the district to the people's advantage. While I was the PWD minister, I spent more than Rs 200 crore on building a road network there," claimed Gadkari, stressing that the Naxalite problem was surmountable and all it needs is careful planning.

"If the BJP-Sena comes to power in the state, we will solve the Naxalite problem and also make the state load-shedding free in two years," Gadkari promised.

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