Saturday, August 15, 2009

AP plans to declare three more districts naxal-affected

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh is contemplating to seek the Central Government’s approval for inclusion of three more districts in the State in the list of areas declared as naxal-affected.

These districts are Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam in north Coastal Andhra bordering Orissa. At present, Khammam is the only district in Andhra Pradesh that finds place in the list of 33 districts across the country which have been declared as extremist-affected.

The Government’s move is in line with the demand from several States for inclusion of more areas in Maoist- affected category owing to the spurt in extremist activity. Overall, Maoist activity has been on the decline in Andhra Pradesh, but the Government is seeking declaration of the three north districts as naxal-affected in view of the continuing activity in areas adjoining the Andhra-Orissa border.

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy is expected to put forth a request to this effect to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Union Ministers concerned during his visit to New Delhi on August 17. The move, according to sources, would ensure more focus on the affected areas while enabling the State to secure more funds under the Backward Region Grant Fund.

Sources said the Centre allocated Rs. 7,500 crore to be spent over a period of three years for the development of the 33 affected districts in Jharkhand (10), Chattisgarh (7), Bihar (6), Orissa (5), Maharashtra (2) and Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh (one each). The declaration of new districts would enable the State to secure funds to the tune of about Rs. 900 crore over the next three years that could be utilised for development of infrastructure including roads and bridges.

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