Declare Tinsukia, Dibrugarh as LWE affected districts: Ramesh
Guwahati: The Union Rural Development Ministry has asked the Centre to declare upper Assam districts of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh as Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas.
"Couple of months ago, I had visited Tinsukia and Dibrugarh and one of the suggestions I have made to the Prime Minister after my visit was that Tinsukia particularly and Dibrugarh also should be declared as LWE affected districts," Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters here.
As per intelligence, there is evidence about the presence of Maoist activities in both the districts, he said.
"The Prime Minister has reacted positively. And we are now expecting the Planning Commission to make a formal announcement very soon. Special Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGYS) norms would be extended to Tinsukia and Dibrigarh," Ramesh said.
"These areas are very remote. They require infrastructure, roads and bridges particularly," he added.
Both the districts, lying in the easternmost zone of Assam, have witnessed increasing activity by cadres of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) in recent months. Many such alleged cadres have been arrested and four killed at Sadiya subdivision in Tinsukia in June.
Ramesh said currently 82 districts across various states have been declared as LWE affected districts.
"Each district gets a special grant of Rs 30 crore for building critical infrastructure gaps. And my suggestion to the Planning Commission and the Finance Minister has been to include Tinsukia and Dibrugarh in this list," Ramesh said.
Ramesh said among the worst affected areas has been the Sadiya subdivision where "there are disturbing reports about presence of Maoist cadres."
Better infrastructure facilities would bring these districts close to rest of the country and boost local economy, which in turn will help youths to find employment opportunities.
The union minister said many private contractors in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts have refrained from giving detailed information regarding expenditures made for PMGSY roads in the public boards due to extortion threats.