The joint security operations to flush out Maoists from Lalgarh and adjoining areas in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district will continue, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee reportedly told a meeting of leaders of the constituents of the ruling Left Front here on Monday.

Mr. Bhattacharjee briefed them on the situation in the Maoist-affected areas, the progress of the security operations and the outcome of his recent talks in New Delhi with Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

The Centre recently assured the State government that the 17 companies of paramilitary forces now in the Lalgarh area would continue to be deployed there.

Later, speaking to journalists, Left Front Committee chairman Biman Bose said the State government should step up its efforts to trace the two policemen allegedly abducted by Maoists from the Dharampur area of Lalgarh on July 30.

(The State police administration has learnt that activists of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee could be behind the abduction, Director General Bhupinder Singh said elsewhere.)

The government’s decision to beef up security in the police stations in areas where Maoists are active was also brought to the notice of the Left Front leaders.

The leaders decided at the meeting to urge the government to expedite the projects lying with different departments. The Ministers concerned “will have to speed up their activities,” Mr. Bose said.

After the meeting, PWD Minister and senior leader of the Revolutionary Socialist Party Kshiti Goswami told journalists that the Maoist leader, Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji, had contacted him over telephone three months ago when the former was in Agartala. He had demanded that the security forces be withdrawn from Lalgarh. Mr. Goswami said he had suggested to Kishanji that he sit with the State government and submit his proposal.

Even as the joint operations continue, the government is looking at ways to take forward development in Lalgarh and its adjoining areas. Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty, Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen and Mr. Singh are scheduled to visit the area on Tuesday.

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