States have primary role in tackling Maoists: Home Minister


New Delh: The central government Monday put the onus for tackling Maoists on state governments, saying they were responsible for both implementing developmental schemes and utilising central forces for fighting the guerrillas.

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Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said the primary responsibility for curbing the Maoist menace was on state governments. He said this in his statement to a parliamentary panel on internal security.

According to official press statement, Chidambaram informed the consultative committee of the home ministry that “the accelerated development and calibrated police action continue to be the two pillars of the government’s anti-Maoist policy.”

He, however, pointed out that on both fronts, the primary responsibility rests with state governments, although the central government has an important role to play.

“On the front of police action, the central government has to provide paramilitary forces to the state government, but it is the officers of the state police who have to lead the operations,” he said.

“Success of the operations largely depends on the soundness of the plans prepared by the state government and its efficient implementation,” Chidambaram told the parliamentary panel.

The home minister also refuted allegations that central paramilitary forces were equipped with obsolete weapons.

“The central government has equipped its paramilitary forces deployed in Maoist-affected areas with latest weapons,” said Chidambaram, adding that it was the state governments which were lagging behind in equipping their forces with modern weapons.

He expressed concern over shortage of security personnel in various states and slammed the state governments for their failure in quickly filling up the vacancies in police forces.

“Similarly, on the developmental front, while the central government provides substantial funds to state governments under various schemes, the machinery to implement the schemes and utilize the funds rests under the control of the state governments,” he added.

The home minister lamented that nearly one-third of the funds provided to the 35 districts affected by Maoist violence under developmental schemes like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme etc remained unutilized by the states.

“There are also questions about whether the money spent actually reached the intended beneficiaries,” the home minister said while slamming the states.

He pointing towards the importance of boosting security in the Maoist-hit areas for apprehending guerrilla leaders, restoring civil administration and promoting development there for tackling the menace.

Chidambaram said Maoists did not want development of the tribal-dominated areas and this was evident from the “wantonness with which they have been destroying the developmental infrastructure”.

“In 2009 alone, the Maoists targeted 362 telephone towers, school buildings, roads etc,” said the minister.