Ramesh assures Munda of Maoist areas’ speedy development


New Delhi: Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Monday assured Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda that there would be no dearth of funds to implement the development action plan in Saranda forest area, an erstwhile Maoist stronghold in the state.

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Ramesh, who met Munda along with Central Reserve Police Force Director General Vijay Kumar and senior officials from home ministry, said if the government succeeded in implementing the action plan for Saranda, it would be replicated in other Left-wing extremism (LWE)-hit districts of the country.

“We want to see the development at the ground level. If we succeed in Saranda, this will be lessons for other Naxal-affected districts also,” he said.

“Our aim is to strengthen the hands of the state government and we have to win the psychological war against the Naxalites,” Ramesh added.

He said there will not be dearth of funds and the central government was also taking help from public sector units like Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) which has several mines in Saranda.

Sources said the state government was planning to raise a “Pahari” regiment as part of efforts to deal with the Maoist threat.

They said that discussions touched on ways to expedite construction of roads in Saranda forest.

Munda also sought a stake for tribals in the projects in tribal areas larger than share in profit only as proposed in the mines and minerals (development and regulation) bill.

The action plan chalked out by the central government for holistic development of Saranda includes BPL (Below Poverty Line) cards for left-out families, extending of forest and housing right titles and employment of local youth.