Collectors in Maoist areas want to push rural roads project: Ramesh

"The district collectors want to push development in the Naxal-affected areas through rural road scheme and land reforms to counter the menace," Ramesh told reporters Saturday.

The rural road scheme, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), faces hurdles as Maoists threaten the contractors, said Ramesh.

He said the 60 district collectors across nine states also want to hire locals for implementation of rural development schemes.

Besides, the slow progress of land reforms, including updating of land records by the state governments is another area of concern, said Ramesh.

"The government is planning a fresh survey to address the issue of land reforms as most of the land records in the country are around 70 years old," said Ramesh.

He said the government is planning to provide legal help to tribals as many of them have been affected due to this problem.

The nine states affected by Maoists are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.

The minister said he toured the Maoist-affected areas in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh and felt the need to push rural development schemes in these areas.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is to also review the government's "development strategy" in the 60 affected districts Sep 13.

The rural ministry is organising the meet.

The government will announce a special package for the 60 affected districts, said Ramesh.

In order to deal with security related issues, the rural ministry will also rope in the Central Reserve Police Force's engineering wing in these areas. CRPF Director General K. Vijay Kumar is expected to attend the Sep 13 meet.  

Officials said the government is planning a long-term strategy to deal with the Maoist menace as the Integrated Action Plan (IAP), being pursued as a short-term plan to push infrastructure projects for the past two years, will end March 2012.

The 60 districts received Rs.55 crore each in the past two years under the IAP to push infrastructure projects in the short-term.

Following discussion with the district collectors, the rural affairs ministry will present a set of recommendations to the prime minister Sep 13.

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