Ranchi: Maoists can be defeated ideologically if programmes meant for rural development are successfully implemented, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Sunday.
    
"The police and the CRPF have their special places (in dealing with naxalism). But I believe the ideological battle can be won through rural development, which has got a special importance," the Rural Development minister told reporters here.
    
"If the rural works are taken up properly, we will be successful in dealing with naxalism in the next five or six years," Ramesh said.
    
Commenting on Jharkhand, he said "But the fact is tardy pace of road works in Jharkhand is attributed to threats to contractors for levy (extortion). Lohardaga, Simdega, Latehar and Gumla are some of the districts where work under Prime Minister’s Rural Road Scheme is a cause for concern," he said.
    
Pointing out that 14 out of the 60 naxal-infested districts in the country are from Jharkhand, Ramesh said he would visit the state every three months to monitor the development programmes in these districts.

He said concrete roads and culverts would be constructed in the rocky terrains of the districts. He also stressed on the need to strengthen the three-tier panchayat system in the state and advised Jharkhand government to recruit development officers and junior engineers at that level.

The Centre, he added, would provide 75 per cent share on the condition that priority should be given to locals in recruitment.

(Agencies)