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More men, roads and phone connectivity to take on Naxals

Saturday, 7 June 2014 - 6:35am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Indicating tougher security action against Maoists in the days to come, the Union home ministry on Friday did away with the nomenclature of Naxal Management (NM) division and gave it the name of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) division.

The logic behind the rechristening was that it was not practical to "manage" a banned outfit that follows a clear Maoist ideology of overthrowing democracy and establishing its own rule, a senior ministry official explained.

An immediate decision that Union home minister Rajnath Singh took during the course of his first interaction with the LWE division on Friday was to push in 10,000 more paramilitary personnel in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, in addition to the already deployed 40,000 troops there.

"It is being done to fill in the gaps in key Maoist strongholds that give them advantage over security forces. We will try to deploy them within three months, or latest by the end of the year," said an official. In the worst-affected Maoist districts, the ministry will try to deploy the most capable officers who have proven their ability.

The home minister also approved a plan to increase the hardship allowance of paramilitary personnel deployed in Maoists affected areas and bring them at least at par with the allowance given to those deployed in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and the North East (NE) region if not more.

Even though LWE areas have emerged as the biggest killing fields for security personnel and have consumed more lives than the conflicts in Kashmir and the North East put together since 2005, yet the hardship allowance given from constable to the level of Commandant, is the least there.

Another key decision that Singh took was to expedite road construction of about 5,477km and telecommunication projects i.e. building 2,199 mobile towers in these districts. Even though the project for 5,477km roads was sanctioned in 2010, just 2,900km have been completed in four years. The mobile tower project for improving connectivity has yet to take off.

The ministry has also decided to review all the rejected claims of land title deeds that were to be given to the tribals to wean them away from Maoists. Officials feel that a key reason of tribal angst is rejection of genuine claims in many cases as majority of tribals only have anecdotal evidence to prove their claim to their land.

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