Fight against Maoists should be accelerated, made decisive: Amit Shah

Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday said that the fight against Maoists is “reaching its end” but “needs to be accelerated and made decisive”. In the past two years (since Shah became the home minister), efforts have been made to increase security camps in areas which were inaccessible, especially in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha, according to a statement issued by the home ministry.

Shah was speaking at a meeting with the 10 Left-Wing Extremist (LWE) affected states which was skipped by the chief ministers of three key opposition-ruled states – West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Shah said incidents of Left Wing Extremism have come down by 23% and the number of deaths has come down by 21%.

“After decades of fighting, we have reached a point where the death toll is less than 200 for the first time and this is a huge achievement,” the MHA statement read.

However, the home minister said “without eliminating Left Wing Extremism completely, neither will we be able to spread democracy to the bottom (layer) nor will we be able to develop the underdeveloped areas. So, instead of being satisfied with what we have achieved so far, we need to increase the speed to cover what is left.”

Shah urged the chief secretaries of Naxal-affected states to hold a review meeting with the DGPs and officers of central agencies at least every three months to deal with LWEs.

During the discussions, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik suggested that the Centre conduct a study on how many children from LWE-affected areas across the country are successful in national level exams like NEET and IIT JEE. Patnaik sought the four-laning of NH-326 from Jeypore to Motu via Malkangiri. “This will provide a parallel road from eastern India, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand to the south especially Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The corridor will help in reducing travel time and provide huge economic impetus,” according to a Odisha government statement.

The Odisha CM also suggested the strengthening of railway networks in LWE-affected districts. “The Railway Ministry and the Odisha government are already constructing two routes from Jeypore to Nabarangpur and Jeypore to Malkangiri through cost sharing. The missing segment — between Malkangiri and Bhadrachalam (153 km), and Nabarangpur and Junagarh (118 km) — can provide an alternative path to the trunk routes of the railway.”

“I would urge the Union government to set up banks within a specific time frame of one year or so,” Patnaik said.

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren sought the Centre’s contribution towards building necessary infrastructure facilities in tribal areas, including construction of roads, assistance for Kasturba Balika Vidyalaya, developing internet facilities and improving mobile-telecom facility in distant parts of the state, according to the Jharkhand government statement.

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