Monday, February 08, 2010

Naveen waits for central forces

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 8: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik said his government would launch anti-Maoist offensive “more vigorously” after the arrival of central paramilitary forces.

“We will act more vigorously as and when the additional five battalions of central paramilitary forces required by us in the northern and western region arrive,” Naveen told reporters here upon his return from New Delhi this afternoon.

Yesterday at the chief ministers’ conference on internal security, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi, he demanded deployment of another five battalions of paramilitary forces in the northern and western districts, which share boundaries with Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

Earlier, the Centre had allotted five battalions of Border Security Force for deployment in the southern parts of the state. “We require more central paramilitary forces to fight out the Left-wing extremists. As we have nearly 500km coast line, we need more marine police stations too,” he added. So far five marine police stations have been set up along the Orissa coast.

Whether it was high time to act in the wake of growing Maoist violence in the state — at least three persons were killed by the rebels in Sundergarh district alone last week — the chief minister said: “We are acting; we have had several successes.”

Naveen said he would attend the conference of chief ministers of four Naxalite-hit states, convened by Union home minister P. Chidambram in Calcutta tomorrow, to chalk out strategies for a joint operation against the Maoists.

On possible talks with Maoists, Naveen said: “It’s not possible when they are committing terrible crimes. Chidambaram had clearly said talks would be held only after the rebels shun the path of violence. We also believe in that.”

The chief minister said he had put forth several demands at yesterday’s conference, including an additional outlay of Rs 300 crore for the proposed Vijayawada-Ranchi highway passing through the Maoist-hit districts of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand.

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