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BackYou are here: NewsIndia Reds call shots in ‘liberated’ zones: Jairam Ramesh


Reds call shots in ‘liberated’ zones: Jairam Ramesh

RANCHI: In a rare admission by a senior Union minister, Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said there were "liberated" zones in the country dominated by Maoists, corroborating the rebels' claims that in west Jharkhand and south Chhattisgarh, the state's writ doesn't run.

"In the heart of the country, these two places are liberated zones. Our officers - be it deputy commissioners, block development officers or anganwadi workers and health employees - don't venture into these places of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The public distribution system is not working," said the rural development minister, who was here to review projects in Saranda forest in West Singhbhum district.

The Centre has recently taken up development works in Saranda, after security forces flushed out Maoists.

More districts to be categorized as Naxalite-hit

Admitting that there were liberated Maoist zones in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said there were plans to categorize 15 more districts as extremist-hit to channel projects. This will take the count of such districts from from 60 to 75. Of the 15 new districts, three fall in Ranchi,

Khunti and Giridih in Jharkhand. At present, 14 districts of Jharkhand are categorized as LWE-affected. Ramesh was here to review projects in Saranda forest of West Singhbhum district.

"We will develop all 56 villages in the Saranda forest as model villages. We will replicate it in other areas like Jangalmahal in West Singhbhum and Abujhmad in Chhattisgarh. The Union government will spend Rs 277 crore for development work in Saranda, which includes construction of roads measuring 140 kilometres," said Ramesh.

"It is because of non-functioning of post offices and banks in Maoist-dominated areas of Jharkhand, I have allowed the state government to make cash payment to beneficiaries of schemes under MGNREGA. I am hopeful that now when the workers will get cash payment, more people will come forward for work," he said.