Large projects in AP opportunity for development: Kiran Reddy

Large projects in AP opportunity for development: Kiran Reddy

He also did not agree with the police contention that the Maoists were using some vexatious issues to rebuild their organisation in the state in recent months.

Reddy spoke in favour of controversial projects like the Posco, Vedanta, bauxite mining in the Araku valley of Andhra Pradesh and thermal power station at Sompeta in Srikakulam district - issues allegedly being used by the Maoists to spread their wings - saying, "these are not issues...they are development opportunities."

Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had earlier termed the projects as the "modern face of Naxalism".

The Maoists' issue came up for discussion at the two-day conference of district collectors last evening as well as at the top-level meeting the Chief Minister had with IPS officers here today.

Reddy wanted the police, as well as district collectors, to "analyse objectively" the benefits of major development projects. "Be it bauxite mining, thermal or nuclear power plants... they benefit the people largely, including those who fear they will be affected. These projects are cleared by the Empowered Committee of Supreme Court, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and other Central agencies after rigorous evaluation," he observed.

Reddy said a majority of the top leaders of the CPI (Maoist) hailed from Andhra Pradesh though the organisation's activities had significantly declined in the state.

"AP is hailed in the country as the role model in successfully curbing the Maoist menace. The Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister have patted us on this. We are happy and proud about it but majority of the top Naxal leaders are from our state," he noted.

"Out of the 21 Central Committee members of CPI (Maoist), 13 hailed from AP; of the 19 member Andhra-Odisha Border Committee, 17 are from here while all the 12 members of the Chhattisgarh Committee too are from AP," Reddy said.

Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) M Mahender Reddy today presented a report to Reddy stating that the Maoists were trying to spread their base once again in the state making use of the various "social movements" in recent months.

The Maoists are currently active in Khammam and Visakhapatnam districts but are trying to extend their activities to Warangal, Karimnagar, Adilabad, East Godavari, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts, the report said.

"In Telangana, the Maoists are taking advantage of the ongoing struggle for a separate state and seeking to spread their base in the name of TPF. But the police could successfully thwart their attempts," it said.

In Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts there was a strong involvement of Maoists in the recent struggles against bauxite mining, thermal power plants and nuclear power plant (proposed in Srikakulam district).

After going through the report, the Chief Minister reportedly said, "We were all feeling happy that Naxalism is on the wane but your report has spoilt our mood."

"But we need not lose heart. Since they (Maoist top leaders) are our people, we know their strategies and we should be one step ahead of them," he added.

Reddy said apart from Khammam and Adilabad that have been declared by the Union
Government as Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) affected, six more districts - Karimnagar, Warangal, East Godavari, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam - would be included in the list.

The Mahbubnagar Collector wanted his district to be also declared as LWE-affected, but Chief Minister turned down the proposal, official sources said.

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