CRPF help sought for dev works in Naxal-hit dists

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New Delhi: CRPF`s help was sought on Tuesday for carrying out development works in worst Maoist-hit districts after Home Minister P Chidambaram maintained that the elite force was meant for restoring peace in troubled areas.

"I do request you…while I agree with you that raising a battalion, training a battalion, equipping a battalion will take some time, I think, we do require some assistance from the CRPF in some of these districts," Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said.

He made the request at a national workshop here attended by the Collectors of 60 Left wing extremism affected districts after Chidambaram made it clear at the programme that the CRPF is not a static guarding force but a fighting one.

Ramesh sought the help of CRPF for identifying "critical infrastructure gap" not in all 60 affected districts but in some "hardcore" Maoist affected districts.

"I agree with you that CRPF presence is not a permanent presence. It is an in and out. But I still request you that if we can work with the CRPF to identify critical infrastructure gaps in some of the worst affected districts," he said.

"These are works people have been wanting for the last 30-40 years. These are works that states have been promising for 30-40 years. But it has not happened. That is one reason for the trust deficit," Ramesh said.

Ramesh also cited the example of Balaghat district in Madhya Pradesh where reported "positive impact in CRPF activities" that helped in taking up works under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

"Now they have taken up the MGNREGA work simply because of the psychological impact of having the CRPF presence in this area," the Minister said.

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