Berhampur (Orissa): Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said that proper utilization of welfare schemes like MGNREGA, PMGSY, IAY should be made to combat Left Wing Extremism (LWE).

"To combat LWE, we have to ensure implementation of welfare schemes like MGNREGA, PMGSY," Ramesh told the Collectors of seven Maoist-hit districts of Orissa.

Rural development in the 60 Maoist-hit districts in the country was the priority of the Government, he told collectors of Kandhamal, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Koraput, Malkangiri and Nayagarh districts.

Pointing that strengthening security force and deploying central para-military force is essential, Ramesh said, "Ultimately, we have to directly deal with the local people."

Identifying five basic characters of LWE-hit districts, Ramesh said they (districts) were mostly tribal dominated, heavily forested, mineral rich, far away from state capitals and located in tri-junctions.

"Maoist activities prevail in tri-junction areas like Orissa-Andhra Pradesh-Chhattisgarh, Chhattisgarh-Orissa- Jharkhand, Maharashtra-Andhra Pradesh-Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh," Ramesh said.

The Union Minister said the Centre had last year sanctioned Rs 25 crore to each LWE-hit district and this year give another Rs 30 crore. "Therefore, the district authorities need to ensure that the funds are properly utilised to combat LWEs," he said.