In the wake of abduction of the Collector of Maoist-hit Malkangiri, Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday interacted with collectors of nearly 60 Naxal-affected districts and asked them to contact him if they face any problem in executing development plans.
During his one-and-a-half hour interaction with the collectors through video conferencing, the Home Minister took stock of the implementation of Integrated Action Plan (IAP), which was specially designed by the Centre for the Maoist-hit districts.
Sources said Mr. Chidambaram asked the collectors to carry out as much development projects as possible and spend the first instalment of Rs 25 crore given to each district within current fiscal.
The Home Minister told the collectors that spending of the funds should be reflected on the ground and the projects could be anything like construction of roads, bridges, school buildings, community halls or Aanganwadi works but the fund should not spill over to the next financial year as the second instalment of the plan would come then.
Mr. Chidambaram told the collectors to involve themselves in works of the IAP for their speedy and diligent implementation and asked them to contact him directly if they face any kind of problem, sources said.
The Home Minister’s appeal is significant as it came two days after the kidnapping of the collector of Orissa’s Malkangiri district R V Krishna and believed to be aimed at giving confidence to the collectors working in hostile environment.
Mr. Krishna was also supposed to participate in the meeting with the Home Minister through video conferencing as Malkangiri has also been included under the IAP.
In November 2010, the government approved the Integrated Action Plan for its implementation in 60 districts, with the aim of giving a fillip to development schemes in tribal and backward regions, mostly affected by Naxal violence.
The IAP has been given as an additional central assistance scheme on 100 per cent grant basis. It is aimed at quick resolution of problems concerning healthcare, drinking water, education and roads.
In 2010-1 alone, each of the 60 districts was given a block grant of Rs 25 crore, with the total coming to a whopping Rs 1500 crore. In 2011—12, the grant will go up to Rs 30 crore each.
Keywords: Naxal issues