Funds for core upgrade less used in Maoist areas

Funds for core upgrade less used in Maoist areas

The Union Home Ministry has admitted that serious security problems created by Maoists, reluctance of contractors and shifting of paramilitary forces for operational reasons have resulted in lesser utilisation of funds provided to nine ultra-infested states for infrastructure development.

However, the parliamentary panel has refused to buy the ministry’s arguments on non-spending and asked it to make fresh attempt to impress upon state governments to step up efforts for optimal utilisation of funds.

In its Action Taken Report to the parliamentary panel headed by senior BJP MP M Venkaiah Naidu, the ministry said Rs 445.82 crore were released to nine states between 2008-09 and 2011-12 but only Rs 258.26 crore (57 per cent) was utilised for improving infrastructure in these places.

The money was earmarked for the states under the Scheme for Special Infrastructure (SIS), which was approved during the 11th Plan.

The ministry said the works were to be undertaken in remote and severely affected Maoist areas. “The progress of works under this scheme has been slow due to serious security problems created by the Maoists, reluctance of contractors to operate in these areas, difficulty in mobilisation of material and machinery resulting in slower utilisation of funds,” the ministry informed the panel.

Further, it said, paramilitary forces are required to shift their bases often owing to “changing situations” in the Maoist “theatre”, which necessitate change of works approved under the scheme leading to delays.

Officials said 537 companies (53,700 personnel) of paramilitary personnel drawn from the CRPF, BSF, ITBP and the SSB are deployed at present in the states for anti-Maoist operations along with state police forces.

“The deployment of paramilitary forces is a dynamic process and is based on requirements projected by state governments, availability of force and security situation in a particular location,” Minister of State for Home Affairs R P N Singh had informed Parliament earlier this week.

The ministry informed the parliamentary panel that it has been pursuing at all levels for utilisation certificates and physical and financial progress reports from states.

It also said that the ministry has been taking up the issue of unspent balances lying with states under the Scheme for Modernisation of State Police Forces with states.

On ideologically tackling the Maoists, the ministry is funding Institute of Social Science in New Delhi to conduct eight seminars on Maoist issues. In the previous fiscal, Rs 6 crore was allocated under the head of “Media Plan”.

The fund was utilised for conveying “relevant messages” to Maoist-affected areas through broadcast of audio spots over All India Radio (AIR), presenting 4,560 programmes.

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