Maoist area reach shrinking, violence dropped 43%: Minister

New Delhi: The geographical spread of left wing extremists (LWE), or Maoists, has been shrinking and Maoist-related violence between May 2014 and April 2019 have been 43 per cent lesser as compared to the preceding five years, Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

During the same period, the number of incidents have declined by 45 per cent in Jharkhand and the decline trend continued in 2019, Reddy said in a written reply to the Lower House, adding that only 10 districts accounted for two-thirds of the LWE violence.

The Minister said the government has been supplementing the efforts of states, including Jharkhand, affected by LWE.

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To address the LWE holistically, the government has approved a National Policy and Action Plan in 2015 which envisages a multi-pronged strategy involving security-related measures, development interventions, ensuring the rights and entitlements of local communities.

On the security front, the Centre assists the LWE-affected state governments by providing Central Armed Police Forces battalions, training, provision of helicopters, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), sharing of intelligence, funds for modernization of state police forces, equipment and arms, provision of funds under various schemes like Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme and the Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS).

For local area development, the Centre has taken various measures, including construction of roads, installation of mobile towers, improving network of banks, post offices, health and education facilities in the LWE-affected areas.

Under SRE scheme and SIS, Rs 243 crore have been released to Jharkhand during last three years to provide further impetus to development in most LWE affected districts. Funds are provided under ‘Special Central Assistance’ to fill the critical gaps in public infrastructure and services.

Till now Rs 1,775 crore have been released to states under the Special Central Assistance scheme in the last three years, of which Rs 773.33 crore have been released to Jharkhand.

Apart from flagship and developmental schemes being implemented by the line ministries and departments, some specific schemes are also being implemented in LWE affected areas, he said.

For Road Requirement Plan-I (RRP-I), the Centre envisages construction of 5,422 km roads of which 4,833 km roads have been completed so far, the Minister said.

“This includes 760 km roads in Jharkhand, of which 707 km has been completed.”

Under Road Connectivity Project for LWE areas (RRP-II) 5,065 km roads, including 615 km roads in Jharkhand, have been sanctioned. Of these 1,062 km roads, including 184 km roads in Jharkhand, have been completed, so far.

To improve telecom connectivity 2,335 mobile towers, including 816 mobile towers in Jharkhand have been installed in Phase-I of the Mobile Tower Project, the Minister said.

“Installation of 4,072 towers including 1,054 towers for Jharkhand has been approved in Phase-II of the project.”

For financial inclusion in LWE areas, the Department of Posts has opened 1769 post offices in LWE affected districts, including 654 post offices in Jharkhand.

Besides, Department of Financial Services has opened 879 new bank branches, 869 ATMs and appointed 7,456 Banking Correspondents (BCs) in the 30 most LWE affected districts in the last four-and-a-half years.

“These include 294 bank branches, 319 ATMs and 2875 BCs in Jharkhand,” he said.

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