Saturday, December 10, 2005

Govt move to combat Naxal menace

Sonali Das
[ Saturday, December 10, 2005 02:25:58 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
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PATNA: The 15-day-old Nitish Kumar government in Bihar means business if its new policy on curbing Naxalism in the state is any indication.

Taking serious lessons from the Andhra Pradesh government's failure in curbing Naxalism by negotiating with Naxalites or declaring a rehabilitation policy for the banned outfits, chief minister Nitish Kumar has decided to combat the menace by introducing a "government at your doorstep" programme set to take off next week.

It will entail development at the block and panchayat levels along with simultaneous police action.

"The basic idea is to make the people living in the Naxalite-hit villages of Bihar feel that the government is people-friendly and will be at the door to ensure on-the-spot solution of their problems relating to land and other disputes," said a home department official.

In effect, this will restrain the villagers from rushing to various Naxalite outfits for finding a solution to their problems which often leads to violence.

The scheme ready to take off from December 16 (approximately) initially in the three sensitive districts of Patna, Arwal and Jehanabad will involve local officials of all government agencies holding regular meetings with villagers, listening to their problems and solving them on the spot.

The police will also be conducting regular raids and combing operations in the areas so that extremists do not get a chance to retaliate against the government initiative.

The government intends to move its officials from village to village in a continuous process so that all gaps are filled.

"As many as 23 people were killed in Arwal over only six katthas of land," said home secretary H C Sirohi, adding that small problems in the villages often lead to massive violence and that it can be averted if government agencies are alert and sensitive.
In the first phase of action, areas have been selected by the government and strategies drawn out both for conducting development work as well as solving people's problems.

Villagers themselves will be involved in gainful, long-term jobs in the villages like building roads, schools and culverts among others.

The programme also aims at curbing corruption at the block level given the transparency entailed in the scheme.

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