The two-day conference of DGPs convened by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil in New Delhi last week focused attention again on the growing Naxal problem in Orissa and other states. While enhancing its security preparedness, the Orissa government has formulated its Naxal containment policy where the development of the backward districts will play a key role in combating the Red menace. Accordingly, the state government has submitted a comprehensive plan of Rs 550-crore to the Centre for integrated development of the backward areas. According to the estimates of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Naxal activities in 2007 have already grown by 15% in Orissa. When the Naxals initially established their base in southern Orissa, it was perceived to be a spillover effect of the problems in Andhra Pradesh. When the Maoists pulled the triggers in Sundargarh district, it was construed to be a problem affecting some of the bordering districts. But Naxals have spread their influence to 14 districts and the coastal areas now blip on their radar screen. The Naxal foray into Dhenkanal district has already jolted the common citizens, as the Red extremists are within striking distance of Orissa’s industrial and commercial hubs. Nalco plants in Angul, the coal bearing areas of Talcher and the NTPC facilities in Kaniha are just a stone’s throw from Dhenkanal. Cuttack is not very far off either. In short, the Maoist fire is spreading. Orissa Police covered some distance in bolstering its combative capabilities after the attack on R. Udaygiri town in March last year. Still, it has to cover a lot of ground. The state government should stay away from its knee-jerk reactions like asking for additional CRPF units or funds from the Centre. During the meeting of chief secretaries and DGPs of thirteen Naxal-affected states held in in Bhubaneswar in 2006, union home minister V.K. Duggal asked the states to bolster their own security without relying much on the Centre. Orissa has in recent months demanded four additional companies of CRPF, which the Centre has not granted any so far. Besides, the state has demanded the inclusion of five more districts of Sambalpur, Deogarh, Jajpur, Dhenkanal and Kandhamal under the Security Related Expenditure scheme of the Centre under which all expenses incurred by the police in a Naxal-affected district is reimbursed completely by the Centre. Posted by Tapendra N Senapati at 2:23 AM Labels: extremists, Maoist, Naxals, Orissa
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