Gogoi for strong strategy to counter NE Maoists

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today claimed that activities of almost all militant groups active in the state have been brought under control and called for a strong strategy to counter the threat of Maoists in the northeastern region.

"The Maoists have of late selected the northeastern region because it is important for them as it has long borders with foreign countries. As in other areas, the northeastern states should adopt a strong strategy and remain cautious," he told reporters here on the completion of the first year of his third consecutive term in office.

"They are spreading their tentacles and we should be cautious and thus it is important to train up the police force particularly those who are posted in rural and underdeveloped areas to counter them," he said.

Development can solve the problems created by either the Maoists or other insurgent group and so the thrust area in the second year would be to generate employment with emphasis on skill development, he said.

Expressing satisfaction that the law and order situation was under control, Gogoi said apart from the Paresh Baruah section of ULFA and a faction of Karbi Peoples Liberation Tiger (KPLT), talks were being held with the other 14 militant groups in the region.

Gogoi said the number of civilian killings had come down in comparison to the previous AGP regime but "we cannot be complacent".

Giving a list of achievements during his 11 years of rule, he said the economy which was in "ruins" has been brought back on rail while there was development in the agriculture, education, health and industrial sectors. "In fact, we have received a reward of Rs 3000 crore from the 13th Finance Commission after our state was declared the best financially managed in the country by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee", he said.

Gogoi claimed that the state`s per capita income has gone up substantially while external aided schemes have been implemented in participation with companies from Japan, France, Germany and the US.

On the power crisis, he said an additional 240 mw would be available by the year end while steps were being taken to start small power projects. Claiming that the Congress had no opponents in the state, Gogoi, in a lighter vein, said, "I hope AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and civil activist Akhil Gogoi would become popular and grow by strength to be my rivals."