Sunday, February 07, 2010

Orissa Chief Minister seeks central funds for modernisation of police force

New Delhi: Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today attended the Conference of Chief Ministers convened to discuss various issues relating to internal security at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. The Conference was inaugurated by Dr. Manmohan Singh, Hon'ble Prime Minister of India and attended by Union Home Minister Shri P. Chidambaram, Chief Ministers and others.

CM highlighted various measures taken by the State Government to deal with the situation by drawing upon the State's own resources as well as from Central Schemes such as Modernization of Police Forces, Security Related Expenditure and Special Infrastructure Schemes.

He stated that the State's Budget allotment for the police has doubled over the last couple of years. To augment capacity of the State Police force, five Special Security Battalions have been raised and a new Basic Constabulary Training Academy has been sanctioned, he informed. Further, more than 100 new Police Stations have been set up in the last couple of years and the existing ones have been strengthened and equipped with modern arms and communication equipment.

He stated that the State Government has completed raising of the Special Operation Group, a dedicated anti-Naxalite force of about 2000 in the last two years and it is now carrying out regular operations in the affected areas. A unique programme of recruiting tribal youth in the age group of 18 to 25 in the Naxalite affected districts as trainee Special Police Officers (SPOs) has been initiated and the response to this Scheme has been extremely positive, he informed. He also outlined several steps taken by the State Government to activate coastal security including operationalization of all the 5 Coastal Police Stations sanctioned for the State. He requested sanction of a few more Coastal Police Stations to cover the entire coastline of the State and for training of the State Police by the Coast Guard.

Reiterating the commitment of the State Government to strengthen the internal security system, Chief Minister observed that a holistic approach is required to meet the challenge of Left Wing Extremism and his Government has taken a number of steps with regard to the development of the affected districts. Since displacement of families on account of development projects has been a burning issue, a liberal rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) policy has been put in place. He emphasized that the land rights of the disadvantaged groups, particularly the tribal land rights have been adequately protected through legislation and several policy initiatives which include a ban on land transfer to non-tribals. About 1.2 lakh land titles have been distributed to the traditional forest dwellers covering an area of more than 1.80 lakh acres, he informed. Orissa is now giving utmost priority to grievance redressal of the common man and these measures have started yielding positive results.

In order to sustain the efforts of the State Government in their battle against Left Wing Extremism, and to build a more robust internal security system, Chief Minister demanded the deployment of another five Battalions of Central Paramilitary Forces in the northern districts of Orissa, which share the borders with West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh. This should be in addition to the five Batallions of BSF assigned to Southern Orissa recently. As connectivity is of prime importance for tackling extremism, he requested additional outlay of Rs. 300 crore for Vijayawada-Ranchi Road as it is passing through the Maoist affected districts of three States. He advocated for concrete roads in the tribal villages of Malkangiri and Koraput districts under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and underlined the need for relaxation in the norms of PMGSY to cover villages having population of 100 and above since the affected areas are sparsely populated.

CM stated that the State Government has taken several steps to construct hostels in tribal areas and suggested that Centre should build more Ekalavya Model Schools and Hostels covering every Gram Panchayat in the affected areas in order to wean away the tribal youth from the Naxal ideology.

The battle against anti-national elements should be fought on all fronts, with firmness as well as sympathy for the public cause and we all must join together rising above all other considerations, Chief Minister emphasized.

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