Ramesh for political intervention into Naxal menace

Malkangiri: Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today said political intervention is essential to wipe out Left wing extremism as it cannot be fought by security forces alone. "Political intervention is the need of the hour to eliminate Left wing extremism. Political parties must play a big role to deal with Naxal menace…security forces alone cannot fight the menace," he said at a public meeting here.

Ramesh said all parties, including Congress, BJD and BJP, should hear the grievances of the people and address them sincerely. "People`s representatives cutting across party lines should be sensitive to communities` problem…As more and more women are joining Maoist cadre, they should be encouraged to be part of the political process. If these misguided youths get opportunity in politics, they will not join such illegal outfits," the union minister said.

Pledging full support for development of Naxal-hit Malkangiri district, Ramesh said there should be all out efforts from different quarters to ensure that developmental activities were not affected due to extremism. "The central government will provide adequate funds to ensure speedy development of Malkangiri district and make it number one in the state. However, political intervention into the vexed issue is a must," he said.

"Though the Centre have been giving adequate funds for rural connectivity, only 35 per cent of the money is spent here. If contractors are unwilling to undertake works due to Maoist fear, work should be executed through panchayats," the union minister said. Stressing the need for construction of the proposed bridge at Janbai over Gurupriya river in the tribal-dominated district, Ramesh said, "The district administration needs to take up the work if the contractors are not available."

The proposed bridge at Janbai would connect the cut off area comprising eight gram panchayats in Malkangiri. The cut off area is the hot bed of the ultras and it remains inaccessible. Besides attending a series of foundation laying functions, Ramesh reviewed developmental work and implementation of various programmes in the district. "It is the responsibility of the state government to ensure proper utilisation of the funds pumped in by the Centre. Besides, the people who are the beneficiaries should also remain ever vigilant," he said.

Former Malkangiri District Collector R Vineel Krishna, who had been abducted by Maoists in February last year, and had since become the private secretary to the union minister, accompanied Ramesh. Ramesh will leave for Sukma district in Chhattishgarh tomorrow after spending the night here, officials said.