ANDHRA PRADESH

Centre alive to ISI threat to Tirumala:Vidyasagar Rao

NALGONDA JAN.28. Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has posed a threat to the temple town of Tirumala and Indian intelligence agencies have been put on alert to thwart its designs, the Union Minister of State for Home, Ch.Vidyasagar Rao, has said.

Talking to reporters here at R&B guest house on his arrival to participate in a private function on Tuesday, Mr. Rao maintained that Tirumala had been placed in "security zone'' after receiving the information about ISI's plans to create violence and destruction.

"The ISI wants to provoke violence not only in Tirumala but also in various parts of the country where the monuments and famous constructions are situated. We put on the intelligence agencies on alert to check its moves,'' he said.

Mr. Rao reserved his comment on reports suggesting that the mafia don, Dawood Ibrahim, owned a five-star hotel at Tirupati and said he could not make a statement on that issue till he got a proof of it.

Stressing on the need and the importance of the modernisation of the police force, the Minister said that Rs. 1,000 crores was available with the Central Government for the purpose. He added that the States should contribute another Rs. 1,000 crores as matching grant.

The Centre was "actively considering'' a proposal made by the states that matching grant should be reduced to 25 per cent instead of 50 per cent. At the same time, he heaped praise on the TDP Government for "effectively taking up the police reforms.''

``The State Government is in forefront in utilising the funds and taking up necessary steps to modernise the police while Bihar stood last,'' he said adding that the police should be strengthened to fight out extremists who are operating with improved explosive devices and powerful communication systems.

According to Mr. Rao, the Home Department accords sanctions to philanthropists and voluntary organisations to spend more than Rs. 4,000 crores in the country under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) per annum.

"If the amount is utilised properly, we can take up many more useful programmes,'' he added. He appealed to NRIs to undertake developmental activities either directly or through NGOs here.

The local MP, Gutta Sukhender Reddy, K. Pavan Kumar, O. Ramulu, V. Chandrasekhar, G. Giribabu of the BJP and Regatte Narasimha Reddy, Mote Somi Reddy of the TDP were present.

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