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Collector safety will be top priority: state mediators

Raipur: Two former chief secretaries of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, who were today named as nominees for talk with naxals, have said that ensuring "safe" release of the abducted collector Alex Paul Menon will be their top priority.

Chhattisgarh government today named former chief secretaries of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh-Nirmala Buch and Suyogya Kumar Mishra-as its nominees to hold talks with the ultras who kidnapped the 32-year-old IAS officer on Saturday.

"My top priority will be to ensure safe release of collector Alex Paul Menon and I hope that the crisis will be resolved soon through dialogue," Buch, who will be leaving for Chhattisgarh shortly, told PTI over phone from Bhopal. She said that the future plan of action will be finalised after holding discussions with the Chhattisgarh government.

Former chief secretary of Chhattisgarh government S K Mishra told PTI that he hopes that the entire crisis will be resolved through dialogue.

When asked about the Maoists putting up demands for collector`s release, Mishra said he had no official information about them. "Whatever information I have on this matter is only through media," he said, adding safe release of the IAS officer will be the top priority.

When asked about the ultras setting April 25 as the deadline for government to release 8 of their jailed associates in exchange of the collector`s freedom, Mishra said, "the negotiations in this regard may take some time".

Meanwhile, senior officials of the Chhattisgarh government today said that a crucial meeting of the ministerial sub-committee, formed in the wake of the kidnapping incident, might be held today.

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