16 July:As the Maoists have intensified their attacks on security personnel and infrastructure, the Centre on Wednesday decided to set up six jungle warfare and counter-insurgency schools to train security personnel to deal with the Naxals.
"Six jungle warfare and counter-insurgency schools will be set up within this year to train commando forces being raised by the Naxal-affected states," Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The locations of the schools will be decided within two weeks.
After chairing two separate meetings with officials of four Naxal-affected states — Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, Gupta said they have discussed operational starategies to deal with the Maoists "in considerable details" but refused to disclose these.
He said the issue of raising a specialised force had come up in the meeting and hoped that the Union Cabinet approval for it would be received in "very near future".
"A few battalions who are already engaged in the task have been identified. The states have also been asked to arrange the land for setting up the battalions so that by the time the approval is received, it could be operationalised immediately," he said.
Gupta said action was being taken to strengthen the intelligence network and for modernisation of the security forces in all the Naxal-affected states.
He said the states have a large number of vacancies in their police forces and the Centre has asked them to take intiatives to fill them up.
"We told them that unless you fill up the vacancies, the Centre cannot continue to give you additional force. You have to be self-sufficient. And accordingly, each state is recruiting 10,000 personnel," Gupta said.
The Union Home Secretary said the Government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the Naxal menace, which has taken a serious turn in 33 districts of the country.
"We are adopting a multi-faceted policy to deal with the Naxals by initiating development programmes in affected areas as well as continuing operations against them," he said.
Gupta said several institutional mechanisms have been set up, including one headed by Cabinet secretary and another by Secretary in the Rural Development Ministry, to carry out development programmes in backward and remote areas.
"It was felt that substential progress has been achieved on the infrastructure front. Connectivity situation is being given focused attention. In overall terms, visible improvement has been seen in various parameters relating to the security situation in the Naxal-affected states," he said.
Referring to the recent attack on elite ‘Greyhounds’ force in Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border, the Home Secretary said it was emphasised in the meeting that there was no room for complacency and sustained steps and action on various fronts would continue to be necessary.
He said the Naxals did not want development taking place in backward areas and that was why they were destroying roads, bridges, power stations and attacking contractors.
"This is a major challenge for us and here the security issues come up," he said.
Gupta said 70 per cent of Naxal violence have taken place in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand while eight districts of the four states were worst affected.
He said the multi-pronged strategy would be replicated in other affected states gradually.
Gupta said last year additional Rs 19 crore has been given to Jharkhand and Rs 18 crore to Chhattisgarh for security related expenditure.