New Delhi : The Centre tonight said it was in the process of procuring nearly 250 bullet and mine protected vehicles for use by the security forces engaged in anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh.
It also said 45,000 central paramilitary personnel and 20,000 state policemen were deployed in Bastar region, which saw maximum Naxal violence in Chhattisgarh.
Reacting to media reports, the home ministry said in a statement that it is factually not correct to observe that lack of financial resources is a reason for casualty of valuable lives of police and CRPF personnel in the battle against Left-wing extremism.
The funds released for Security Related Expenditure Scheme have increased from Rs 575 crore in 2011-12, 2012-2013, 2013-2014 to Rs 675 crore in 2014-15, 2015-2016, 2016-2017.
The above increase is in spite of the fact that states now get a greater share (42 per cent) of the Centre's tax resources. Earlier this used to be only 32 per cent.
The statement said it was incorrect to say that Chhattisgarh Police is in shambles. In addition to 45,000 central forces personnel, over 20,000 state police personnel are posted in Bastar region.
As many as 58 mine-protected vehicles are available in Chhattisgarh to the paramilitary forces and 30 are under process for procurement through the Ordnance Factories Board. 42 bullet-proof vehicles are also available and 210 bullet- protected vehicles are under process for procurement, it said.
Referring to the recruitment process of security personnel, the home ministry said it was an ongoing and a continuous one.
For a force of 70,000, about 3,000 policemen retire every year and there is always a pipeline of 6,000 people under recruitment, it said.
Chhattisgarh Police force is well equipped and a Bastar package for police was introduced in 2015. There is complete coordination between the Centre and state forces. In fact 2016 has been the most successful year in anti-LWE operation, it said.
As compared to an average of 30 Naxals killed every year, 135 Maoists were neutralised in 2016 which is three times the number of police personnel killed.
Even this year, 32 Naxals have been killed so far which is more than the average annual killings of Naxals before 2015.
It is wrong to say that 72 CRPF personnel have sacrificed their lives in 2017. As a matter of fact 38 CRPF personnel have been killed in Chhattisgarh in 2017. These figures clearly indicate that anti-Naxal operations are achieving success, the statement said.
The central government's policy has been very helpful and has substantially brought down the violence figures in the state. There has been 7 per cent decline in overall violence incidents since 2013. The LWE cadres are in fact in retreat and resorting to desperate attacks.
A Bastaria Battalion has been sanctioned recently with a strength of around 750 to be recruited from the local tribals. Similarly 10 Special India Reserve Battalions (SIRB) and 56 India Reserve Battalions are being raised in the LWE areas.
On the development front various initiatives have been taken recently such as sanction of a 5,412 km road project at a cost of Rs 11,725 crore, inclusion of all 35 worst-affected LWE districts in the skill development programme, providing Navodaya and Kendriya Vidyalayas, banks, ATMs and post offices in these districts.
On the health front, the statement said, the flagship NHRM programme is followed up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on a constant basis and a super speciality hospital has been approved recently at Jagdalpur by way of upgrading of Jadgalpur Medical College.
The next of kin of the soldiers killed currently get around Rs 84 lakhs as assistance.
There were no directions by the home ministry regarding not showing grieving widows on TV channels. It was a suggestion verbally made keeping in mind the sensitivities of the bereaved families and the fundamental decency of not intruding to the privacy of the grieving families, it said.