Monday, May 12, 2008

Patil vows to wean youth from Naxalism

KHAMMAM: Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Sunday visited Pameedu village in Chattisgarh near the border with Andhra Pradesh and apprised locals of the steps taken up by the Central and State Governments to “check the Maoists in their tracks”.

Patil reached the village by helicopter from Raipur at 1:30 pm and spent an hour in the Naxalite-dominated village. The Union Minister said the Central and State Governments would soon come out with an action plan to eliminate the “menace” permanently, he said.

Steps were being taken to provide employment to the rural youth to wean them away from “extremist” activities, he said, and added that any government could survive only when the people lived in peace and comfort.

Khammam district in Andhra Pradesh, and Dantewada and Bijapur in Chhattisgarh had been identified as “Naxalite-infested” districts and funds were released last year to curb Maoist activities, he pointed out.

When the villagers complained of poor supply of rations, bad road connectivity and inadequate medical facilities, he assured them that these would be improved soon. Patil told the villagers not to live in fear as the Government was taking “every possible step” to provide them with adequate security. He also appealed to the Maoists to shun violence as they “could not achieve anything through the barrel of the gun”.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh, Governor E L Narasimhan, State Home Minister Ramvichar Netam, the Bijapur SP, Collector and Chhattisgarh DGP accompanied the Union Minister. Security was beefed up in the area in view of the home minister’s visit.

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