MHA permits Chhattisgarh to use choppers to target Naxals
Making it clear that Maoist insurgency will be dealt with an iron hand, government on Monday agreed to use helicopter for troops’ deployment in conflict situations and favoured increasing the chopper strength for Naxal-hit areas.
At a high-level meeting chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh, it was also decided to provide multi-skilled 2,000 personnel for carrying out development work in Chhattisgarh which has been worst-hit by Naxal violence.
During the meeting, which was attended by Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and top home ministry officials, union home secretary Anil Goswami gave a presentation during which he informed that four helicopters were being used for rescue operations or troops in conflict situations.
The state government requested the Centre to use helicopters for troops' deployment or sending reinforcement when an encounter is on, which was agreed to, official sources said.
It was agreed in principle by the home ministry to increase the number of helicopters to six subject to approval by the Defence Ministry, they said.
Facing shortage of contractors for carrying out development work in Naxal-hit areas, the chief minister sought the Centre's help in providing nearly 2,000 multi-skilled personnel having technical knowledge.
‘Two technical battalions (about 2,000 men) comprising engineers have been sought for construction projects in Chhattisgarh,’ Raman Singh told reporters here after the two-hour meeting.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) had been involved in various projects in Chhattisgarh till 2010. However, it started withdrawing after the then UPA government decided to strengthen road network along India-China border for which BRO is the first choice.
The Centre had recently cleared additional 10 battalions (about 10,000 personnel) for maintaining law and order in the state.
The special focus of the meeting was on Bastar region, worst-hit by Naxals, and how to carry out development work there, the CM said.
The home minister reviewed the security situation, including Left Wing Extremism in Chhattisgarh, and asked Union Home Ministry officials to coordinate and integrate efforts enhancing its involvement in tackling Naxalism in the affected states.
The Chhattisgarh chief minister also made a detailed presentation about the security situation in the state and his demands.
‘We have sought MHA’s help in skill development of youths living there. We want to improve schools and have a network of roads there. We have been assured of all help,’ he said. Chhattisgarh has also demanded special NAGA battalions, creation of a special task force for counter offensive and opening of a Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College.
During the presentation, Raman Singh pointed out ‘poor inter-state and centre-state coordination’.
The meeting was also attended by minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju and representatives of Planning Commission, Intelligence Bureau, Department of Telecom and Ministry of Environment and Forest.