Assured Odisha of help to combat left-wing extremism: Rajnath

Bhubaneswar, Feb 19 (IANS) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday assured of maximum help in combating left-wing extremism (LWE) in Odisha, adding that revival of the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) was under the central government consideration.

“After reviewing the security situation in Odisha, I can say there is a progressive improvement. I have also assured the state government of maximum assistance to combat LWE,” the home minister.

“Several issues were discussed with the state government, including the IAP. Revival of IAP is going on,” Singh told reporters here.

The union government hd stopped funding several schemes, including IAP launched in Maoist-affected areas in 2010-11 for development.

Pointing out that backward areas need development, he said the central government had launched several schemes for social and economic development of the poor.

The union minister held a review meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other government officials.

Appealing to the Maoists to join the mainstream, he said there was no place for violence in a democracy.

“If they give up weapons and violence, we are ready to talk with them under the constitutional parameters,” Rajnath Singh said.

Earlier, he held a review meeting with the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force and Odisha Police about Maoist violence in Koraput and praised them for successfully dealing with the ultras in the state.

Speaking on the state government’s demands, he said it raised the issue of drought assistance and assured that the sanctioned amount would be provided after the passage of the supplementary budget in parliament.

The state government had protested the Centre’s decision to cut financial assistance for drought in 2015 by around Rs.214 crore.

The Centre said it would provide drought assistance of Rs.600.52 crore, as against Rs.815 crore announced earlier. The state government had demanded Rs.2,344 crore from the Centre as drought assistance.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said financial assistance for cyclone Phailin’s victims was pending for some time now, and that two companies of paramilitary forces to combat LWE activities were demanded from the central government.

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