The State government feels that the situation was improving in and around Lalgarh and other Maoist strongholds in West Bengal. It also stressed on the need for conducting joint operations with the Jharkhand government, saying that this had got stalled due to elections in that State.

West Bengal chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborti told reporters at the secretariat, “It cannot be said that the situation in and around Lalgarh has not improved. Offices of the block development officer, public distribution system outlets (ration shops) and schools have reopened.”

Ultra-left shifting to remote villages

Admitting that activities were still going on in pockets where the joint forces were not present, Mr. Chakraborti said that the spate of incidents on national highways and close to developed villages now seem to have stopped with the ultra-left shifting to remote villages. Over the last few weeks, there had been several incidents of arson on highways with goods-laden trucks and factory establishments being torched.

Schools occupied by forces

On schools occupied by the forces, he said it was necessary for putting up the forces initially, but now efforts are on to help the local children catch up on their lost time in academics.” “District magistrates have been told to organise special coaching classes wherever it is necessary.”

To a question on rescheduling examinations, the State’s senior-most bureaucrat said that he would have to talk to the education department on this.

Mr. Chakraborti stressed on the importance of launching joint operations with the Jharkhand government saying that this was necessary for tackling the situation better.