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NORTH EAST

Development work helped contain insurgency in Tripura: Sarkar
 AGARTALA, Jan 17 – Insurgency has been contained in Tripura due to large-scale development work in backward areas along with stringent anti-insurgency operations, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar today said.

Modernisation of the police forces and offensive deployment of police and para-military forces also helped contain insurgency, Sarkar told PTI in an interview.

“Our continuous endeavour to convince the misguided youths to return to the mainstream and their economic rehabilitation helped us win them back which resulted in normalcy returning to the state, but there is no room for complacency,” he said.

On the demand by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal-based party for a separate state within the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), Sarkar said “this demand is divisive in nature and people of the state do not subscribe to such an idea.”

The TTAADC constitutes one third of the teritory of the state and is home to tribals who form one third of the population.

On the Telangana issue, he accused the Congress of taking an “opportunistic line” and complicating the situation in the region for their “narrow political interest”.

“In Telengana region in Andhra Pradesh they (Congress) assured the people that the demand for a separate state would be conceded and at the same time in coastal and Rayalseema region said that if the demand was conceded, even Hyderabad would go to Telengana region,” Sarkar said.

To a question, he said, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi had given fresh hope of development of land-locked Tripura which borders India’s eastern neighbour.

“The discussions concerning the issues of Tripura took place between the prime ministers of the two countries in our presence which was very positive and has brought a new message for development of the state”, Sarkar said.

He said it was likely that Tripura would get the opportunity of using the Chittagong seaport and Ashuganj river port.

A 14 km railway track would be laid by India to link Agartala station with Akhaura in Bangladesh and border haats (market) would be constructed on both sides of the border to facilitate border trade among the people.

“I talked to Sheikh Hasina who recalled the days of the liberation movement in 1971. When I invited her to Tripura she accepted the invitation and said she was eager for a visit,” Sarkar said.

The chief minister, who is also a CPI(M) Politburo member, alleged that vested interests and reactionary elements from the country and abroad had hatched a conspiracy to weaken the Left movement in West Bengal.

“But, I believe that the Left movement will foil the conspiracy and face the situation boldly because the level of consciousness of the people of the state is high and they have also faced such adverse situations earlier,” he said.

The Tripura government also achieved all targets in the development sector last year save in the agriculture sector due to dry spell. “We are working hard to fill up the gap, but scanty rain created problems which are beyond our control,” he said.

Observing that Tripura implemented the NREGA successfully last year, he said, “We were among the five top states in the country in implementing the NREGA scheme.”

The Central government’s delayed sanction of funds was coming on the way of implementing the scheme, he charged.

The chief minister said the state was best in implementing the Forest Dwelling Act in the country and distributed the maximum numbers of pattas to forest dwellers.

The state also did well in extension of road connectivity even in rural areas. – PTI