With states continuing to rely heavily on Central forces for the fight against Naxals,the Centre is preparing to do some tough talk at the meeting of chief ministers later this week,warning them that until they strengthen their police forces,attacks like the one in Chhattisgarh cannot be prevented.
The Home Ministry is ruing the fact that despite giving thousands of crores to the states over the years as assistance to strengthen their police forces,there has been little change on the ground. The state police forces are woefully short of manpower,training,ammunition,and low on morale hardly the kind of condition to be in to take on the Naxals. Not surprisingly,therefore,they are almost completely dependent on the para-military forces for the anti-Naxal fight.
The ministry has prepared a detailed presentation on the way forward in the anti-Naxal fight in which it has stressed that there is no alternative to a strong and fully capable state police force,working in close cooperation with the Centre and other states. The presentation is likely to emphasise on the Andhra Pradesh model of anti-Naxal strategy. A Home Ministry official said the Andhra Pradesh experience was not all about the specialised Greyhounds force only. The state had,over the years,invested a lot on building its police force,which ultimately helped it in chasing the Naxals away,he said.
The ministry is likely to tell the CMs that while it will continue to provide money and resources,the dependence on Centre was becoming counter-productive. In the last four years,the Centre has disbursed over Rs 6,500 crore to the states under various schemes to build police infrastructure. Under the scheme for modernisation of police forces,the MHA has been allocating money to the states for construction and maintenance of secure police stations,set up communication lines,buy weapons,improve mobility,develop forensic capabilities and upgrade training. Each of the Naxal-affected districts are given an additional Rs 2 crore per year to upgrade their policing capabilities. Besides,under the SRE (scheme for reimbursement of expenditure),the MHA reimburses the expenses incurred by state governments on security matters that are not covered by the modernisation scheme. All this,the Centre feels,has not produced the desired result,and a more focussed approach was required.