ANDHRA PRADESH

Land reforms will solve naxal problem: CPI

VIJAYAWADA, AUG. 1. Extending its support to the State Government's ongoing negotiations with the People's War, the Communist Party of India (CPI) has stressed the need for comprehensive land reforms, which, it said, was the "permanent solution" to the extremist problem.

The Government, which had initiated a dialogue with naxalite groups, must simultaneously undertake measures like the distribution of ceiling lands, acceleration of work on pending irrigation projects and enhancement of allocations to poverty alleviation schemes. Such steps would reduce the intensity of the problem. "The naxalite menace is a socio-economic problem that requires a political solution," the CPI State secretary, Suravaram Sudhakara Reddy, said on Sunday.

Keep the police away

Participating in a meeting on `The Contemporary Political Situation: the CPI's stand,' organized by the city council of the CPI here, Mr. Reddy said the Government must ensure that the Police Department did not interfere in the talks. "The tail must not wag the dog, and the Police Department is like a tail," he said.

He objected to the cases registered against the People's War emissaries, Varavara Rao, Gadar and Kalyana Rao, by the Warangal police for speeches made by them at the recent public meeting at Mogilicherla. "The speeches are not new. This is not the first time that the emissaries have made such statements," he said, demanding that the Government take steps to withdraw the cases.

Mr. Reddy clarified that the CPI was not endorsing the emissaries' statements but was concerned about the fate of the talks. Expressing concern over the threat by Mr. Varavara Rao that the peace process would be derailed if the police resorted to registering cases against emissaries, he suggested that both the sides remain flexible on such issues.

Waiver sought

Mr. Reddy also demanded that the Government invoke the Rural Indebtedness Relief Act to rescue the State's distressed farmers. He demanded a waiver on loans taken by farmers owning land less than five acres, and lending by moneylenders at "exorbitant" interest rates checked.

<109,99>Review of reforms sought

He also demanded that the Government order a review of the entire ambit of reforms initiated in different sectors in the State. He said these reforms were initiated at a time when the World Bank was "using the State as its experimental ground." He lamented that the six-month moratorium on loans announced by the Government had deepened the crisis faced by farmers, as private moneylenders were refusing to provide fresh loans for undertaking agricultural operations this season.

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