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Friday, June 4, 2010

Give maximum emphasis on development: MPs tell Govt

MPs from Naxal affected states today asked the government to give maximum emphasis on development of backward areas and said that time is not ripe for the deployment of Army to deal with the Maoists.

At a meeting convened by the Home Ministry, the Parliamentarians belonging to worst-Naxal hit regions said the government should carry out development activities with a holistic approach.

"The time for engaging the armed forces has not come yet. Army help can be taken for training. But the time has not come yet for direct involvement of armed forces," JD(U) MP from Aurangabad (Bihar) Sushil Kumar Singh told reporters after the meeting.

Singh felt the Army should be deployed only when no other option was left.

"First, we should utilise the existing system," he said adding the Naxals have expanded their bases in areas whether either no developmental work has taken place or there was very less development.

BJP MP from Jamshedpur Arjun Munda said only development can help solve the Maoists problem.

"Development should be carried out with a holistic approach. That is the only solution," he said.

The former Jharkhand Chief Minister said MPs have suggested how to carry out developmental activities in each and every Maoist-hit district.

In the meeting, which was chaired by Home Minister P Chidambaram, some MPs described the problems being faced by the people in carrying out their day-to-day activities and suggested measures to solve them, the sources said.

A few MPs also suggested that Naxal-hit areas be declared as special zone or region for carrying out specific development programmes, they said.

Among the 25 invited MPs, 13 have attended the meeting.

Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken and other senior officials of the Home Ministry attended the meeting.

On April 30, a similar exercise was carried out by the Home Ministry where the MPs were told about government's strategy, especially development schemes, and their cooperation in the task to deal with the Maoists.

In that meeting, Chidambaram and other top officials briefed the MPs about the gravity of the Maoist problem and steps being taken by government to deal with the menace.

Planning Commission had also given a presentation to the MPs about development schemes with a focus on flagship programmes of the government.

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