Malkangiri (Odisha): Ridiculing Maoists` claim of being saviours of tribals, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today asked them to join electoral politics instead of indulging in violence which derailed development and welfare of the poor.
"Despite their tall claims of being saviours of tribals and the poor, Maoists are in fact derailing development, deviating from ideology and denying the people of their basic rights," Ramesh said during an interaction with officials, people`s representatives and journalists here.
"No problem can be solved at gun-point. If Maoists are sincere about development of the tribals and serve the poor, let them abjure violence, join social mainstream, participate in electoral politics and contest elections", said the minister winding up his two-day visit to the Naxal-hit district.
Denouncing the violence perpetrated by Maoists, the Union Minister said everyone has right to live in a democracy and the law is equal for all.
The developmental activities are being derailed by Maoists as in the face of threat no one is coming forward to undertake work and the funds are lying unspent.
With Maoists obstructing development projects, the local administration also appeared to be washing off its hands. "How long will this continue?", he said favouring allotment of those works to the people themselves.
The responsibility of undertaking developmental works, small or big, should be entrusted to village panchayats and youths should come forward for this. The administration would provide all help, he said.
Describing tribals as "very honest and simple", the union minister said they were being construed as gullible and taken for a ride by the Maoists.
There should be concerted effort to educate the people,
particularly the tribals, about their basic rights to ensure their prosperity. "With this the district will prosper as also its people", Ramesh said.
On problems facing backward and tribal-dominated Malkangiri district, the minister said the Centre wanted to improve the lot of the poor.
The Congress-led UPA government was pumping-in funds for all sorts of development including education, health and other infrastructure. "There will be no dearth of funds for development activities (sarkar rupion ka pahad khada kar denge)", he said.
During his visit, Ramesh discussed various problems and issues with the people`s representatives, senior government officials and media.
Among others, Odisha`s Rural Development Secretary S N Tripathy, Panchayat Raj Secretary P K Jena, District Collector Balwant Singh and Superintendent of Police Anirudha Singh were present.