State has been directed to set up a separate development authority
The Centre has asked the Jharkhand government to show urgency on both security and development matters in the Left-Wing-Extremism-affected Saranda forest.
The State has been directed to set up a separate development authority to carry forward its initiative to provide basic amenities to 7,000 tribal families in the forest, and demanded early allocation of land for setting up 24 more CRPF camps in and around the region.
Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, in a letter to Chief Minister Arjun Munda, stressed the need to set up a separate “Saranda Development Authority” to implement the action plan drawn up for the region and to work in cooperation with Central forces.
On the basis of the suggestions he had received from stakeholders during his recent visit to Saranda, Mr. Ramesh underlined the need to include the villages on the periphery of the forest under the “Saranda Action Plan” for better results on the development front as well as checking the growth of the naxalite movement in the region.
The State is expected to set up the authority under a dynamic young IAS officer, to whom all departments working in the region will report, so as to create a focussed approach towards the total development of the region. Representatives of the State and Central forces are also required to meet, monitor and coordinate their activities for achieving the various goals outlined for the region.
Mr. Ramesh has called for a realistic timeframe to achieve the targets set, which includes providing the tribals with houses, cycles, employment-oriented kits, solar lamps, and forest land rights, among other schemes.
The MoRD has cleared 6,000 units of houses under the Indira Awaas Yojna (IAY) for the tribals living in the six gram panchayats in the forest besides six watershed programmes for the State's West Singhbhum district.
Mr. Ramesh asked Mr. Munda to initiate action on filling vacancies of forest guards, which posts had been in abeyance for over 18 years.
The Minister suggested that local tribals be appointed to these posts, stressing that the measure would go a long way in protecting not only the forest but also the rights of its natural habitants.
Mr. Ramesh brought to the notice of the Chief Minister the problems CRPF personnel were facing as a result of the delay in the allocation of land for setting up camps. He said the forces had already reached the State and it was imperative to station them at strategic points to improve the security situation in the forest region.