New Delhi: Notwithstanding repeated attacks by Maoists, the Centre has decided to counter ultras through its development efforts in Naxal-affected areas as it believes such efforts will weaken the Red base.
"We are making a special effort to bring development in the Naxal-affected areas. We are hoping that it will pay dividend," Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told a news agency.
Ramesh`s contention comes just days after Naxalites planted a bomb inside the stomach of a dead CRPF jawan after killing 11 of them in Jharkhand`s Latehar district last week. They also stunned the nation by firing at an IAF helicopter in the dense Dantewada forests in Chhattisgarh, injuring one policeman onboard.
The government is particularly enthused by the recent revelation of a surrendered Naxal that its strategy to facilitate development in addition to frequent combing operations have hit the very base of the Maoists hiding in "liberated Red corridors" of the forests.
"We have made an effort... We have started special plans like Saranda Development Plans in such areas. It will take at least 5 years to bring peace in these areas," Ramesh said while reacting to surrendered Maoist Badarpu Mallaiyya`s reported revelation that the CPI Maoist leadership was worried over security operations and development efforts undertaken by government.
Saranda Development Plan is the government`s first systematic experiment in combining a security-oriented and development-focused approach in Maoist-affected areas on a large scale.
It was implemented after CRPF and the state police jointly "liberated" Saranda of West Singbhum district of Jharkhand in August, 2011 from 11 years of Maoist control.
Centre has now decided to replicate the model in other tribal-dominated areas in the country, said Ramesh, who has already travelled 40 Naxal-affected districts in the country to assess the implementation of development programmes.
Government initiatives like giving tribals the right to sell their forest products like bamboo have also started paying dividend, he claimed.