New Delhi: Observing that 19 out of 24 districts in Jharkhand are affected by Naxalism, Chief Minister Arjun Munda on Thursday made a strong pitch for granting a special status to the tribal state along with a central package to effectively deal with its various problems.
Addressing the 57th National Development Council (NDC) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Munda said, "The state should be provided with a special central package, without which it will not be able to get rid of the problem of militancy."
He said Naxalism in the state has affected development and has also led to loss of property and lives in the state.
"In Jharkhand where 19 out of 24 districts are affected by militancy, a comprehensive dose of development is needed which will ensure basic necessities to the people who are already suffering from poverty," he said.
Raising the demand for a special status for the state, Munda said, "Jharkhand fulfils all criteria to get the special status. The percentage of temporary houses in rural and urban areas is 19.4 per cent and 74.6 per cent respectively, which is more than those states which have been granted the special status."
He also added that in the fields of drinking water and sanitation, human resource development, electricity and transport, Jharkhand is behind the states with special status.
Supporting Integrated Action Plan (IAP) in its current format, Munda asked the Centre to allocate "special grants" for infrastructure development of districts selected under it.
Stating that Jharkhand fulfils the minerals needs of entire country, Munda pointed out how mining has affected agriculture, leading to displacement of people and making them susceptible to join the Naxal activities.