In Orissa, security and development to go hand in hand to counter Naxals

Written by Dilip Bisoi | Bhubaneswar | Updated: Apr 22 2008, 05:11am hrs
Worried over increasing Naxal activities in the state, the Orissa government has decided to prepare a long-term blueprint to contain the menace by clubbing developmental programmes with security measures.

Developmental activities as well as security preparedness will be our strategy to check the march of the red brigade in the state, says state principal secretary, home, TK Mishra.

The two dreaded naxalite outfitsCPI (Maoist) and the CPIML (Janashakti) are quite active in the state. While the CPI(Maoist) is operating in southern, northern and north-western districts,Janashakti is active in Keonjhar, Jajpur and Dhenkanal districts.

In 2007, 15 persons were killed in as many as 52 Naxal-related violence. What,however, made the state government sit up is the attacks in early 2008 on Nayagaraha, a district headquarter town, about 80 km from the state capital, Bhubaneswar, where the Naxals raided the district police armoury and looted weapons, killing about 15 policemen.

The state government has increased surveillance by establishing a special investigation wing and stepped up offensive by formation of a special operations group. All the 83 police stations in the Naxal-infested districts have been fortified.

Now, the government is planning to beef up security measures while taking up developmental programmes in these areas. The Centre has made a provision of Rs 500 crore for implementation of the programme over a period of five years in all Naxal-affected states.

Orissa will soon submit a report to the Centre seeking financial assistance of Rs 25 crore for 2008-09. Other than developmental activities, the plan will include fortification of prisons and police stations.In the first phase, the plan will be implemented in Rayagada and Malkangiri districts as a pilot project, says the state home secretary. This will be executed in Sambalpur, Deogarh and Gajapati districts in the next phase, he added.

In Orissa, Malkangiri and Rayagada have been included in category-1 Naxalite-affected districts, while Deogarh, Gajapati and Sambalpur are in category-2. Ganjam, Koraput, Nabarangpur,Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh are in category-3 districts. Gajapati, Ganjam,Keonjhar, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Rayagada and Sundargarh districts have been included in the security-related expenditure scheme.