The Home Ministry has asked 10 Naxal-hit states to expedite development projects in Left Wing Extremism affected areas after the Environment Ministry relaxed its guidelines, officials said today. In his letter to chief secretaries of 10 Maoist-hit states, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba said all development projects, including construction of roads, bridges, installation of telephone towers, must be expedited as the Union Environment Ministry has relaxed rules and regulations in this regard.
An inter-ministeral meeting, held recently under the chairmanship of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, has empowered state governments to give environmental clearance of up to 40 hectares of forest land in LWE-hit areas for carrying out development works, the home ministry official said.
Relevant guidelines were issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, another official said. The 10 Naxal-hit tates include Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand,, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The development projects in Naxal-affected areas include public infrastructure like construction of roads, bridges, mobile towers, school buildings, anganwadi centres, primary health centers, drinking water supply, village roads, electric lights in public places such as PHCs and schools, etc. The central government is pursuing the dual policy of police offensives and development initiatives to tackle the Maoist menace.
The central government provides Rs 1,000 crore every year as 100 per cent grant to 35 LWE-affected districts under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP). The utilisation of the fund is decided by a committee headed by the district collector and comprising the superintendent of police and forest officer. The district-level committee has flexibility to spend the amount on development schemes of their choice based on the need of the district.