National Disaster Management Authority vice-chairman Marri Shashidhar Reddy on Wednesday cautioned the state government that if it does not learn lessons from the recent Chhattisgarh massacre engineered by Maoists, its earlier gains in the battle with the extremists might be lost soon.
Shashidhar Reddy, who was convenor of the task force constituted in 2004-2005 to study the Naxalite problem and suggest remedial measures, drew heavily from what he had learnt from his father, former chief minister M Channa Reddy, when he was young and from the accounts of tribals with whom he had interacted.
During an interaction with mediapersons here on Wednesday, he said he was preparing to submit to the Centre his observations and suggestions on dealing with the Maoist problem.
The genesis of the problem, according to Reddy is the dissatisfaction among tribals over the lack of any initiative by the government to solve their problems. “The government should first find out what the tribals need and then take measures in that direction,” he said. If this is not done, the extremists would continue to take advantage of the situation, he said.
“When my father was the chief minister, he sought answers at the micro level. He asked officials to organise gram sabhas and identify problems. At many places, a small road, a bridge or an irrigation work might be all that the tribals want. They do not cost much. If done, they would ensure peace in tribal villages,” Shahsidhar Reddy said.
This was conveyed to the government clearly by the task force, which has former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi and four others as members. “As long as tribal problems are not addressed, it is no use fighting the Naxalites,” Shashidhar Reddy said.
Shashidhar Reddy stressed the need for inter-state operations against Maoists since they operate across borders. In such operations, state borders should cease to exist for the police, he said. Then, there must be effective transfer of intelligence from state agencies to the Central forces drafted to deal with Maoists, he said.