Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Centre to raise 200-300 paramilitary battalions

New Delhi: In a major move to boost internal security, the Centre plans to raise 200-300 battalions of paramilitary forces in the next five to seven years and also help states to modernise their police forces, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said tonight.

Winding up the day-long discussion on the Demands for Grants of the Home Ministry, Patil hinted that the menace of Naxalism has been blown out of proportion as the problem was confined only to about one per cent of the country's area.

The Demands were approved by voice vote later.

Patil sought to dismiss concerns raised by opposition members that a Maoist government in Nepal would lead to the growth of Naxalism within the country, saying that the people of the Himalayan nation had given their verdict. "We do not want to pass a value judgment on it and are desirous of good relations," he said.

He also sought to wash his hands off the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants issue maintaining that it was a matter concerning states, which have been given powers to deal with it sternly.

Patil also said the Centre plans to spend Rs 75,000 crore on economic development of states affected by the naxal menace.

Debunking charges that the government was soft on tackling terror, he said the Centre was taking a middle path and dealing with the matter sternly wherever required.

Patil said the Centre would consider strengthening security along the borders with Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Tibet after consultations with the External Affairs Ministry.

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