Bhubaneswar: Without naming Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who has supported PA Sangma as the Presidential candidate since he was a tribal, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday asked the BJD supremo to do something on ground for the development of tribals.

"I would appeal to leaders of Odisha who have suddenly discovered themselves as champions of tribal welfare and tribal interests that the best way of standing up for tribal issues is actually doing something on the ground on tribal welfare programmes ... especially health," Ramesh said without naming anyone.

On the Maoist problem in tribal areas of the state, Ramesh said most leaders who claimed to be champions of tribal welfare, had not dared to visit Malkangiri and other places.

"I have already spent a night at Malkangiri, considered as the worst Maoist-hit pockets in Odisha," Ramesh, who was here to attend a cultural function, said.

The union minister said "There are places in the state where BDOs even do not go due to fear of Maoists." Stating that funds was no constraint in fighting Maoists, Ramesh said 18 of Odisha's 30 districts were covered under IAP.

"What is important to end the Maoist problem is political activity," he said.

"The Centre can provide funds to fight Maoists, but the state government's primary responsibility is to take action. Para-Military force can support the state police," he said.


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