Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday that his Ministry had decided to prepare and implement a special plan for the development of Maoist-infested tribal regions of Malkangiri district of Odisha and Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Ramesh said the plan would be ready for implementation in three months, and construction of bridges, roads and water supply facilities would be taken up over two years.

The special plan for Malkangiri-Sukma would be prepared on the lines of special plans already being implemented in the Saranda and Sarju areas in Jharkhand.

While 7,000 families had been benefited in Saranda, 12,000 families would be benefited in the Sarju area. Both the areas had been freed from the Maoists' clutches by Central paramilitary forces after many years, he said.

Mr. Ramesh expressed hope that implementation of the special plans would help fight the Maoist problem in a greater way.

Of the total 78 Maoist-infested districts in the country, 20 districts had been badly hit by the menace, and those districts were in need of special attention, he noted.

Stating that the Maoist menace could not be fought by security forces alone, Mr. Ramesh underlined the need for political activity, development activity, and security activity, simultaneously, to contain the problem and win the support of the tribal people.

The Minister revealed that the implementation of the Integrated Area Plan (IAP) in districts affected by the Maoist problem would be given a new approach in the coming days. Instead of the Collector, Superintendent of Police and Divisional Forest Officers taking decisions for the development of the IAP, the schemes under the initiative would be implemented on pubic consultation at the gram panchayat, block and district levels, Mr. Ramesh added.

All the IAP districts had been provided with Rs. 30 crore each last year for developmental work, and a similar amount would be given to these districts during the current fiscal too, Mr. Ramesh said.

Elaborating on the new initiatives of his Ministry, Mr. Ramesh said his Ministry had decided to take steps for the provision of dwelling units under the Indira Awas Yojana for all the beneficiary families under the Forest Rights Act, by accepting them as families living below the poverty line.