Brijmohan Agrawal, Minister for Public Work Department and School Education, Government of Chhattisgarh, here on Monday expressed the hope that Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon, who has been abducted by Maoists, would be released soon.

Mr. Agrawal was on a two-day pilgrimage to the Sri Ramanathaswamy temple.

Speaking to The Hindu after offering prayers, he said that the Chhttisgarh government was aware of the public mood and sentiments of people, particularly in Tamil Nadu. A number of steps had been taken to secure the release of Mr. Menon.

Asked about the delay in getting the Collector released, Mr. Agrawal said that a high-level committee constituted by the State government was closely monitoring each and every aspect of the crisis.

Mr. Agrawal stressed that the Government of Chhattisgarh was giving the operation top priority.

The committee had been exploring various options for securing the release of the Collector.

He said that the Maoists had listed some demands. The committee would formulate a workable strategy.

Asked if he was hopeful of ending the hostage crisis on a positive note, he said that the government was confident that the official would be released soon. He said that the State alone could not find a solution to the Maoists insurgency.

A common strategy was needed to eradicate the Maoists as a number of States the and Central government were affected.