In his first visit since taking over as the Union Home Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde will reach Jharkhand on Tuesday to review development and security-related projects in the Maoist-hit state which is currently under the President’s rule.
The Home Minister is scheduled to hold meetings with governor Syed Ahmed, his two advisors K Vijay Kumar and Madhukar Gupta and other senior civil and police officials including Jharkhand DGP Rajiv Kumar.
Sources said Shinde may also discuss the deployment of additional force in the state where election is likely to be held in July before the six-month term of the President’s rule ends on July 18.
“Among all the Naxal-affected states Jharkhand recorded the highest number of civilian fatalities last year. Although the number is down by approximately 14 per cent, the Home Minister wants to assess the ground situation and take stock of the development work launched in 17 districts of the state with central assistance” a source said.
In the last four months, 19 civilians and 18 security personnel were killed by the left- wing extremists. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Bokaro, Chatra, Garhwa, Gumla, Hazaribagh, Latehar, Lohardaga, East Singhbhum, Palamu and West Singhbhum are the 10 worst-hit districts.
The state also witnessed an increase in Naxal attacks on public infrastructure. As per the ministry data, Naxals destroyed 11 schools in Jharkhand in the last five years. Ultras blew up two telecom towers and railway tracks at two places in November last year.
Shinde will also review progress of 3,535 ongoing development projects sanctioned by the Centre under the integrated action plan. At least 12,926 projects under the plan were completed by the state government.
On March 23, the government released `130 crore as a backward region grant to upgrade the infrastructure in Jharkhand’s most backward districts affected by Naxal violence.