Special Correspondent

Kolkata: The West Bengal government is not considering banning Maoists. It will tackle them politically, administratively and by implementing socio-economic development programmes in areas where they are trying to establish a presence, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Thursday.

“We have no intention of banning them; we want to isolate them politically,” he told the Assembly.

Banning the extremist outfit was not the solution to the problem. But security was stepped up in Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia districts, where the extremists had been committing murders, arson and dacoity.

Since 2005, the Maoists had killed 42 political leaders, most of them belonging to the CPI(M). Twelve policemen had been killed and 70 injured in the violence, he said.

The Maoists had no regular base in the State. They came from neighbouring Jharkhand, committed crimes and fled back, he said. Despite the Centre’s efforts to coordinate with the State governments, Maoist activity persisted.

West Bengal was laying emphasis on the socio-economic development in 74 blocks, where the Maoists are known to be active. Several projects were being undertaken by the Paschim Anchal Unnayan Parishad (Western Regional Development Council). In the past three years, Rs.45 crore was spent from funds meant for economically backward areas, he said.