Naxal-affected States agree to set up Unified Command to deal with Left-wing extremism

     The Chief Ministers of the Naxal-affected States, who attended a meeting convened by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh here on Wednesday, agreed to set up a Unified Command with a retired Major General rank officer onboard to bolster anti-Maoist operations. It was also decided in the meeting that more helicopters will be deployed for logistical support, troop movement, supplies and evacuation. The crucial meeting also approved raising of 34 new battalions of India Reserve Battalion for combating the Maoist menace. It also cleared other proposals related to induction of more Special Police Officers and exclusive development schemes for the Maoist-hit states. The Government will fund the establishment and strengthening of 400 police stations in the affected districts at the rate of two crore rupees per police station. The Centre's share will be 80 percent and the States will bear 20 percent of the cost for a period of two years. Addressing the meeting, Dr Singh called for sustained coordination between the Centre and the States to deal with the Left-wing extremism, adding that a greater coordination and cooperation in crucial matters like intelligence gathering and intelligence sharing is required. Home Secretary G.K. Pillai and Secretaries of about half a dozen central ministries, who deal with development, social and infrastructure sectors were also present in the meeting. The meeting was attended by Chief Ministers of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. While Jharkhand was represented by its Governor, West Bengal sent a senior minister for the meet.

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