The State plans to include nine more districts for reimbursements of SRE

At the conference of Chief Ministers on internal security, in New Delhi on Wednesday, Madhya Pradesh will reiterate its demand to include nine more of its districts for reimbursements of Security Related Expenditure (SRE) for Left Wing Extremist (LWE) districts.

The scheme includes 103 districts in the country of which one district— Balaghat, bordering Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra — is in Madhya Pradesh. It was in this district that Likhiram Kawre, the then Transport Minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh, was assassinated by the erstwhile Communist Party of India (Marxist- Leninist)- People’s War in 1999.

A 17-year-old alleged Maoist cadre, Garjan Singh, was arrested on Tuesday in Balaghat with two country-made firearms. Police sources claimed that Mr. Singh, a resident of Kauwa Behra in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon, was a member of a small action team of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army of the CPI (Maoist).

Shivraj Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, accompanied by Chief Secretary R. Parasuram and DGP Nandan Dube, would be demanding that nine other districts — currently under the Integrated Action Plan for backward districts — also be included under the SRE scheme. This includes six districts bordering Chhattisgarh and two bordering Maharashtra. In the eastern part of the State, these districts have large tribal population and forests.

“We can prevent any Naxal activity from developing if we get funds now to modernise our police stations and equipment. We have intelligence that Maoists have surveyed the area. We have reports of Dalam [armed squad] movements in Singrauli, Sidhi, Mandla and Dindori districts. Rather than try and chase them later on, it is better we modernise now and take action,” Mr. Dube told The Hindu.

He said so far the Maoists have not been able to recruit local tribal youth. “They (the Maoists) offered them Rs. 3,000 a month, but there were no takers... They are more successful in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra because the forests are thicker there. Here they risk getting killed, which is a big setback,” he added.

Last year, a woman Maoist was killed in a gun battle with the police in Balaghat’s Bamni forests.

During the previous fiscal, more than Rs. 170 crore were released to the 103 LWE- affected districts. Balaghat got approximately Rs. 65 lakh. Madhya Pradesh is yet to frame a comprehensive rehabilitation policy for surrendered Naxals like Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

Surendra Pandey, Additional DG (Anti Naxal Operations) said levels of violence were not the sole criteria to ask for these funds.

“This is preventive in nature. The government has sanctioned many additional posts, including those in the intelligence system to combat this menace. These funds will be used for special training and psychological operations (State propaganda),” he explained.