With the mediators holding talks with the Maoists for the release of abducted Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the Centre was monitoring the situation on a daily basis and would provide all assistance to the Chhattisgarh government for Mr. Menon's early release in good health.

A similar assurance was given by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

They reportedly gave this assurance to a delegation of Congress MPs from Tamil Nadu, who expressed their concern to the two leaders on the safety of Mr. Menon, who is an asthma patient, and wanted the Centre's intervention.

Cuddalore MP K.S. Alagiri, who was part of the delegation, told The Hindu that Dr. Singh, too, expressed his concern over the abduction. Mr. Chidambaram allayed the fears of the Tamil Nadu MPs about the safety of Mr. Menon and said he was speaking to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh daily and monitoring the progress of negotiations.

Even the medicines sent to Mr. Menon by his family had been handed over to him, Mr. Chidambaram told the delegation.

The other MPs, who participated in the delegation, were Manicka Tagore, N.S.V. Chitthan, E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, S.S. Ramasubbu and P. Vishwanathan.

The 32-year-old 2006-batch IAS officer hails from Samathanapuram near Valliyoor in Tirunelveli district.

He was abducted by the Maoists on April 21 when he visited a few villages in his district to hear the grievances of the villagers.