Jairam Ramesh calls for development of tribals to root out Maoist menance

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has said India must chalk out a middle ground for the continuous development of the tribals for rooting out the Maoist menace that is gripping the country.

Addressing a lecture, Ramesh pointed out the four Ds that form the base of the ultras operation and resulted violence from their actions.

"India's Maoist challenge, stripped of all its complexity is a challenge that we face in dealing with tribal displacement, tribal deprivation, tribal disconnect and tribal discontent. You address these four Ds of tribal society and you would have gone a long way in addressing the Maoist challenge," Ramesh said.

Barraged by a bulk of questions from social activists and academics on the government's development projects and land acquisitions, Ramesh patiently replied to all.

He said although basic facilities like education and health services were a right of every Indian citizen, forced development was something that the government should avoid and suggested to find a "middle ground".

"There are people in India who have said that, let's keep tribals the way they are, let's not interfere with their way of life, let them come into the mainstream at their own pace. Then there are others, to which I had belonged some years ago, who said that, no every tribal boy has the same entitlement to become an engineer in Infosys as everybody else, that's the other extreme approach, which is, you force development in these areas.

"What I am pleading for is a middle ground. That don't keep them as museum pieces but, at the same time, don't force the pace of development that makes them poorer in the bargain by acquiring there land and not giving them the compensation for the resources on which they are sitting on," Ramesh added.

The Maoists have also significantly increased their presence in tribal and rural regions in the states of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha (earlier known as Orissa).

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