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Political stability, check on Naxalites in Jharkhand mark 2015

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Ranchi: Hopeful signs of curbing Left-wing extremism, political stability and attracting investments through ease of doing business in Jharkhand marked 2015.

As many as 37 dreaded Naxalites in the rank of ‘area commander’ and above were arrested during the sustained anti- Naxal operation during the year.

“This was an outstanding year with arrests of more than 400 Naxalites, recovery of huge amount of explosives and weapons and (the police) lost no weapon,” Additional Director General of Police (Operation) S N Pradhan said.

These were the biggest achievements during the last 10 years, he said.

Twenty-eight Naxalites were killed as against four policemen during anti-Naxal operations in 2015, he said.

Asserting that Left-wing extremism would be nearly wiped out in the next two-three years through sustained operations, Pradhan said the year saw the police targeting the top and middle level leaders in the Maoist ranks through arrests or their neutralisation.

The mounting pressure hit hard on the Maoists as they lost on cadres while new cadres did not join them, he said.

On June 9, 12 Maoists were gunned down by the personnel of the CoBRA battalion in an encounter in Palamau district.

Desperate to recover ground, rebels began intimidating family members of police personnel by locking up homes of four policemen in Palamau district on November 13.

On August 18, Ranchi Senior Superintendent of Police Prabhat Kumar had a fresh lease of life when he narrowly escaped after being hit by a Maoist bullet on his shoulder, but he lost his police driver in the encounter with guerrillas in Khunti district.

The Maoists killed two policemen in Godda district, a district hardly touched by the rebels, on October 10 while they annihilated three members of a family in Lohardaga district on March 22.

The Jharkhand Anti-terrorist Squad and the National Investigation Agency arrested Tareeq-ul-Islam, the main accused in the 2014 Bardhaman terror blast case. Tareeq, who carried Rs five lakh on his head and was a member of the Jamat-ul-Muzahideen Bangladesh, was nabbed on the borders of Ranchi and Ramgarh districts on September 29.

Timely intervention by the administration controlled communal tensions in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Hazaribagh during the year.

After years of political uncertainty that saw rise and fall of several governments since Jharkhand’s inception on November 15, 2000, the state saw stability throughout the year after the BJP/Ajsu party mustered an absolute majority in December last year to form the 10th government.

Later, six of the eight Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik-JVM) MLAs joined the BJP while a petition by JVM urging their disqualification as members of the House is pending with Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon.
In a minor political setback, the NDA’s strength reduced

by one member when Jharkhand PCC president Sukhdeo Bhagat regained the Lohardaga (ST) seat defeating ruling Ajsu party candidate Niru Shanti Bhagat in the December 14 assembly bypoll.

The seat fell vacant after the disqualification of Kamal Kishore Bhagat in a criminal case. Niru is his wife.

Another noteworthy achievement this year had been efforts to check corruption as the state set up Anti-Corruption Bureau and Jan Samwad, enabling arrest or suspension of several officials or employees and finding solutions to the grievances of people.

Jharkhand got a fillip to its investment prospects when the World Bank in September ranked the state third after Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh in ease of doing business. Ranked 29th last year, the state introduced Jharkhand Industrial Park Policy, 2015, Jharkhand Food Processing Industry Policy, 2015 and Jharkhand Export Policy, 2015 and introduced the Single Window System.

On August 3, the Jharkhand government and Tata Motors signed a memorandum of understanding to set up Institute of Driving Training and Research Centre at Jamshedpur.

On July 29, the state signed a MoU with the NTPC for expansion and increase in the production of Patratu Thermal Power Station.

In a tragic incident on August 10, a stampede in temple town Deoghar killed ten kanwarias (pilgrims) outside the Baijnath Temple. Some officials, including the then Deoghar Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police, were suspended after they were held accountable for the incident.

Congress MLA Badal Patralekh accused the probe team of finding scapegoat and demanded revocation of their suspension during the monsoon session of the state assembly on August 25.

Later, the suspension of DC and SP was revoked.

Deoghar was again in the news when it became the epicentre of a mild earthquake on December 15.

Following a poor monsoon in the state, the Cabinet recommended the Centre to declare the state as drought-hit and a central team went back to Delhi after making field visits to assess the drought situation.

The fag end of the year saw the RSS and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) holding their respective meetings in Ranchi.

The RSS expressed concern over the imbalance of population ratio following the Census release while the CITU expressed concern over ‘polarisation of work force’.