Number of underground cadres falls to 150 from 1,100 eight years ago: Kiran

Seeking to highlight the efficacy of the policies pursued by the Congress government since 2004 to end the problem of left-wing extremism, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Monday claimed that the number of underground naxalite cadre in the State had dwindled to mere 150 from 1,100 eight years ago.

He said the problem had been solved to a great extent through a series of measures initiated to tackle naxalites at the field level on one hand and to improve the lot of the poor in interior villages on the other, treating the 40-year-old problem as a socio-economic issue too.

Road network

Speaking at the annual conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security at New Delhi which was addressed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Chief Minister, at the same time, sought Central assistance to develop a road network corridor along Srikakulam, Adilabad and other districts bordering Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, at a cost of Rs. 2,400 crore to facilitate rapid movement of security forces.

Helicopter station

The Chief Minister also suggested establishing a troop carrier helicopter station at Visakhapatnam for swift air-borne operations.

Two-pronged strategy

Mr. Reddy said the results of the two-pronged strategy adopted by the government to tackle Maoists were such that left wing extremism was confined to eight districts now, including Visakhapatnam and Khammam.

He mentioned that the schemes, implemented to wean rural youth away from the influence of extremists, including his Rajiv Yuva Kiranalu launched to make rural youth employable through skills development, Interior Areas Development Scheme and the Centre-sponsored Integrated Action Plan, were paying off. Top naxalite functionaries were arrested, recruitment of cadres prevented and extremist violence came down.

The Chief Minister said due to effective work by the commando force, Octopus, Special Weapon and Tactic Teams counter intelligence apparatus and an NSG hub here, which were formed following the terrorist attack in 2007, terrorism too was under check.

Now, closed circuit TVs were being installed covering Hyderabad as a comprehensive surveillance against terrorists and communal elements.

Coastline vigil

Adequate vigil was being maintained along the State's 1,000-km long coastline as it was vulnerable to infiltration and attacks, in cooperation with the Indian Navy at Visakhapatnam. Another 15 marine police stations were being set up in addition to six already functioning, he said.