The consensus at a high level meeting on Naxalism, chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here on Monday, evolved around better coordination and multi-pronged connectivity to affected areas through a web of mobile, rail and road networks.
A comprehensive plan was laid out for building new roads and bridges, upgrade schools and erect over 2000 telecom towers in the Naxal-hit areas.
The meeting chaired by the Home Minister reviewed the developmental projects in Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Odisha and Maharashtra — Naxalism-affected areas in and around the Bastar region.
Mr. Singh said Bastar requires special attention for early completion of development projects and a coordinated action for tackling left-wing extremism. He assured the States of necessary Central assistance, a Ministry of Home Affairs official said.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis attended the meeting while Telangana and Odisha were represented by their Chief Secretaries and DGPs.
Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani, Suresh Prabhu, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore represented the Centre along with Mr. Singh and top officials of the respective Ministries and central police organisations.
Mr. Raman Singh stressed the need for installing higher capacity TV and radio stations including FM radio stations for better connectivity in the Bastar region. Mr. Fadnavis raised the issue of pending road works of about 150 km and the work of Indirawati bridge awarded in January last year. He also stressed the need for early completion of laying a railway track in the Naxal-hit areas.
The Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police Odisha and Telangana pitched for necessary Central assistance for early clearances and completions of developmental projects pending in their States.
MHA officials said 500 mobile phone towers would be completed by March 31 while 1,700 more towers would be constructed by August.
“Over 280 schools in my State were damaged badly. They were replaced with portable structures for teaching up to Class VIII. Those will be upgraded till Class X now,” said Mr. Raman Singh. He had requested the Centre to provide 10 extra battalions (1,000 personnel in each battalion) of paramilitary forces for Bastar.
“Four battalions have been given. I hope the remaining six would be given soon,” he told journalists. He also demanded that environment clearance should be increased from 5 hectare to 40 hectare for carrying out development projects in the Naxal-hit regions.
The Home Minister instructed senior railway officials to ensure commencement of construction work of railway track from Rowghat to Jagdalpur and expedite laying of tracks from Dillirajhara to Rowghat, sources said.