Raman govt offers 1200 acres for anti-Naxal centre

NEW DELHI: The proposed school for anti-Naxal operations may come up in Chhattisgarh with the state government offering to house a dedicated training centre proposed by the Army. The state is prepared to set out 1,200 acres for a campus.

Senior government sources said the state government has conveyed its willingness to speedily provide land to the Army for setting up training centre. Army has proposed the school as part of its suggestions to improve the security response to Left-wing extremism.

All paramilitary and state forces to be deployed in anti-Naxal operations could be trained at the proposed school before being inducted for operations, the Army has suggested. The defence ministry is soon expected to take the proposal for a training school to Cabinet Committee on Security.

Meanwhile, in an effort to minimize immediate direct involvement of the Army in anti-Naxal operations, the Union home ministry has decided not to seek assistance of serving Army officers as security advisers to states affected by Left-wing extremism. Instead, it has asked the Army for a panel of retired generals who could be engaged in advisory role. It is a change of its original stand.

The latest move follows a political decision to minimize direct Army role in Naxal operations that are yet to settle into a cohesive plan despite regular consultations at highest levels. Several more elements, such as training and logistics support, in which military could have a significant role, are yet to be fine-tuned.

Sources said defence ministry is expected to forward names of a dozen retired major-generals, who have had extensive experience in tackling insurgencies in north-east and Kashmir, to the home ministry. From these names, four retired generals could be appointed as security advisers to the four worst affected states -- Chhattisgarh, Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand. The original proposal was to appoint four serving officers, of brigadier rank, as security advisers to proposed unified command to be set up in these states.