New Delhi: Terming the situation in Maoist-hit areas of Chhattisgarh as "very grim", Rural
Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has said his Ministry's programmes are an "entry point" to reducing the "trust deficit" between the affected people and the administration.

After reviewing the Ministry's programmes in Chhattisgarh, he said while there is no magic formula to reach out to the people, the government was trying to give greater "flexibility" to the Collectors and the elected representatives to implement the schemes in these areas.

Vowing to focus on the 60 districts hit by the Left wing extremism in the country, Ramesh said that the programmes of the Ministry "offer an opportunity of an entry point into reducing the trust deficit between the people and civilian administration and we should use these schemes in that manner.

“The availability of infrastructure in these districts is a basic requirement, connectivity is also basic requirement. We are trying to give as much flexibility as we can to the elected panchayats to the Collector to the elected representatives in the Naxal-affected districts. There is nomagic formula for this," Ramesh said.

Spelling out the administrative challenges being faced in the Naxal-hit districts, Ramesh said some blocks in affected districts are big in size and need to be redrawn.

"The situation is very grim, very serious in Narayanpur, Bijapur, Kanker. In large number of panchayats, anywhere between 30 to 50 per cent in these districts, there are no rural development programmes taking place," he said.

Ramesh said there are basic governance issues including the non-availability of banking infrastructure, post offices, lack of security and delayed payments to the wage
earners in the Naxal affected districts.

"There are huge problems in the implementation," the Minister said, adding the collectors of the affected districts made a "large number of suggestions" to increase the reach of
the Ministry's programmes among the rural poor.

He assured the collectors that the government would certainly look into their suggestions. "For example, for affected districts the six per cent ceiling on administrative costs should be increased. We can certainly look at that," he said.

The Minister said there were various ways to introduce the banking correspondent model "so that instead of the wage earner going, somebody goes to the wage earner and gives the
cheque. These are various options available now."

On the implementation of the government's ambitious Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana, the collectors suggested that the cement concrete road could be allowed to be built
throughout.

Agreeing with the collectors' suggestion, Ramesh said, "Right now, we allow cement concrete road only where there is human habitation. Another suggestion is that Indira Awas
Yojana should be available to families who are affected by the Left wing extremism."

(Agencies)