Couldn’t visit tribal blocks due to Maoists: Minister

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram on Thursday said he could not visit some of the 10 tribal regions due to security concerns due to the presence of Maoists.

“I honestly admit that I could not visit all the 10 blocks because of leftwing extremism,” Oram said, inaugurating a conference of state tribal welfare ministers, principal secretaries and secretaries here.

He said he was advised not to go to these region, he said, adding that the ministry was giving special attention to development in these areas.

The Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana was launched on pilot basis in one block each of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The central government gives Rs.10 crore to each block for tribal development.

Oram said the government will rope in MPs and MLAs for development of tribal areas.

“We often see that only some ministers and officials are involved with important projects in tribal areas. We are looking forward to include MPs and MLAs in such projects,” he said.

He said there should be competition among states for promoting tribal welfare and that 20-25 percent more funds will be allocated to states that do well in the area.

Oram said he wasn’t satisfied with the performance of his ministry, and that it should have done much better work.

“What we should have achieved for tribals is not satisfactory.”

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