At the same time, government strengthens anti-naxal operations

The State government is planning to offer a modified package for naxals who are ready to lay down arms and join the mainstream, even as it has asked the Centre to provide special financial grants to Karnataka on the lines of other naxal-affected States.

Stating this at the Legislative Council here on Wednesday, Home Minister K.J. George said the government is prepared to help the tribal people who wish to join the mainstream. At the same time, his department is taking all steps to intensify the anti-Naxal operation by strengthening the Anti-Naxal Force (ANF), Mr. George said.

He was responding to the naxal issue raised by MLC Ganesh Karnik. Mr. George said the Union Home Minister had said he would take a decision within a fortnight on the State’s request for special grants.

Meanwhile, Mr. George will visit Mangalore and Udupi on June 18 and 19 to gain first-hand knowledge of the issue. He will hold meetings with the district administration and with people’s representatives. The government will then chalk out further course of action, Mr. George said.

He said the ANF has 13 camps, at Karkala, Hebri, Jaddinagadde, Shankaranarayana, Mastikatte, Agumbe, Kerekatte, Kigga, Devalekoppa, Jayapura, Virajapet, Tirumani and Pavagada. The government is considering providing basic facilities at these camps at a cost of Rs. 5.3 crore.

Raising the issue, Capt. Karnik said naxalism continues to thrive in the Malnad and coastal districts, mainly because of the faulty compensation package offered to the dwellers of Kudremkh National Park (KNP). Only 75 per cent of the nearly 1,300 forest dwelling families in the KNP region have valid documents of properties and are eligible to get compensation. The government should also provide compensation to families that do not have records, he urged. Also, the compensation package should be flexible, enabling families to choose between monetary or land compensation, he said.

Capt. Karnik also urged the government to set up an ANF training facility at the Kudremukh township, which has almost been abandoned after the closure of mining operations.

Man-animal conflict

Minister for Forests, Environment and Ecology B. Ramanath Rai informed the Council that the government would form special packages containing construction of solar-powered fences and trenches restraining elephants from straying into human habitats.

He was responding to Leader of the Opposition D.V. Sadananda Gowda’s motion on the continuing menace of elephants and other wild animals in the districts of Dakhina Kannada and Kodagu.

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