Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to provide “air mobility” to security forces for anti-Maoist operations in the state.
The CM, who met Rajnath Singh on Monday, has sought at least 21 choppers. At present, there are only four choppers which are mainly used by the state and central police forces for rescue operations.
Outlining its plan in a presentation to the MHA, the state government said it would first locate the Maoist-run camps in the jungles with the help of satellite images and UAVs, and then carry out operations by air-dropping personnel to the nearest possible location.
“The district administration has revenue maps and we know the areas where there is habitation. To avoid the risk of collateral damage, we would first collect all the information, technologically and through human intelligence, and then air drop the security forces to launch an offensive. We have also asked for augmentation of UAVs for simultaneous surveillance of cluster of areas,” said a senior official.
Among other measures to check Left Wing Extremism (LWE), the state has asked the Centre to re-deploy Naga battalions, develop Gondi and Halbi dialects, pay monthly stipends to the youth, distribute transistors, solar powered television sets and mobile phones, and open ashram shalas (residential schools).
Seeking to check recruitment by Maoist groups, the state government said, “A graded stipend of Rs 1,500-4,000 would be provided. In the first phase, around 1 lakh youth will be covered at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore.” It hopes to cover about 4.75 lakh youth in all.
The state government has asked the Centre for assistance of over Rs 10,000 crore. “Two technical battalions (about 2,000 people) comprising engineers have been sought for construction projects in Chhattisgarh. We have sought MHA’s help in skill development of youth living there. We want to improve schools and have a network of roads there. We have been assured of all help,” said Raman Singh after the meeting.
He was accompanied by a team which included State DGP A N Upadhyay. Saying it could convert 500 existing schools into ashram shalas, the state government said, “A tribal university, an ayurved university and an Armed Forces Recruitment Training School is also required.”
Seeking relaxation of norms under the Forest Conservation Act, the state government said, “General approval for diversion of forest land in LWE area up to five hectares is inadequate, complex and time consuming. It should be increased to 40 hectares.”
Stating that only 25 per cent of Bastar has telecom coverage, thus affecting the intelligence gathering process and timely response by central forces, it said, “Due to local topography, large parts of Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur and Sukma districts are outside the range of Akashwani. Provide regional language satellite services.”