Raktima Bose

One more person killed by suspected Maoists

KOLKATA: Even as West Bengal Chief Secretary Ardhendu Sen, during his trip to Paschim Medinipur district's Midnapore town on Saturday, said that additional Central forces for Maoist-affected areas were expected this month, one more person was killed by suspected Maoists at Jhargram late on Friday.

The police arrested a suspected Maoist squad member in the Bankura district the following day.

Mr. Sen's visit to the district, his first as the Chief Secretary, was to hold a “review meeting on developmental issues” with the District Magistrate and the Block Development Officers of various Maoist-affected blocks and to chalk out the future course of action.

Later, he told journalists that the Centre had agreed to the State's request for additional forces and hoped that they would start arriving this month. He said the operations to flush out Maoists would continue.

District Magistrate Narayan Swarup Nigam told The Hindu over telephone that Mr. Sen was apprised about the status of the projects and the obstacles faced in implementing them due to the constant Maoist threat.

“We apprised him about the problem faced in paying timely wages to the workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, since banks remained closed due to regular bandhs and blockades. Again, no contractors are available to execute the projects sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana,” Mr. Nigam said.

Mr. Sen reportedly ‘appreciated' the district administration's work in the face of such hardship and ‘encouraged' it to continue with the job, while assuring to take up the issues with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Meanwhile, Mr. Nigam announced that the family of persons killed by Maoists in the region since June 2009, would be paid a compensation of Rs. 3 lakh each, according to a Central scheme.

“The compensation will be paid under the Centre's scheme of providing assistance to families of civilians killed by Maoists. Over 100 persons have been killed in the district since June 2009, and we are currently compiling the victims' names.” Asked about any plan to compensate the families of those missing, he said such cases would have to be examined.

Suspected Maoists gunned down Sudhangsu Maiti, member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s Lodhashuli local committee, at his residence on Friday night. This is the sixth killing in the Lalgarh region in the last eight days.