Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said Left Wing Extremism (LEW) continues to be a challenge in the districts of Malkangiri, Koraput and Nuapada.
Patnaik said this while replying to a debate in the Assembly and claimed criminal activities by the Maoists have gone down in the 11 districts of Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Gajapati, Ganjam, Nabarangpur, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Sundergarh and Nayagarh, despite the CPI(Maoist) efforts to re-group in these areas.
"The position continues to remain challenging in the districts of Malkangiri, Koraput and Nuapada," he said.
The Chief Minister said in order to improve mobile connectivity in the Maoist affected areas, 253 locations have been identified for setting up new mobile towers.
"However, unless the Centre proactively spends from the USO (Universal Service Obligation) Fund, mobile operators will not set up these towers. This continues to be a matter of concern," Patnaik said.
He said to provide road connectivity to the remote areas of Malkangiri district, construction work on the much awaited Gurupriya bridge has started, which would connect over 100 villages and help overall development.
Claiming that the overall crime situation in the state remained under control, Patnaik said during the month of June, 50,595 cognisable cases have been reported, while the crime branch has identified 121 sensational cases for investigation.
Referring to Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra's allegation that crime rate was rising in the state, he said "Crimes against women per one lakh women population in Odisha is 70.4 as compared to 123.4 in Assam, 91.04 in Rajasthan and 169.1 in Delhi."
"This apart, the rate of registration of IPC offences per lakh population during 2014 was 199.9, which is much less than the national average of 220.6. Comparable figures of Andhra Pradesh is 225.1, Gujarat is 213.3, Karnataka is 223.6 and Rajasthan is 295.1," Patnaik pointed out.
Though the Centre has substantially reduced funds under the Police modernisation scheme, he said the state government was committed to ensure that funding from the state budget continues to keep the police fully prepared to meet the challenges of maintaining law and order.