Dantewada: The first Prime Minister to visit this Maoist hotbed in three decades, Narendra Modi on Saturday asked Naxals to abjure gun and allow peace so that the macabre drama of death will end to pave the way for development.
On a short visit in Dantewada, Modi initiated welfare schemes worth Rs 24,000 crore for the Maoist hotbed of Bastar region which include setting up Ultra Mega Steel Plant, a railway line, slurry pipeline and pellet plant.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being garlanded at a public meeting in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh on Saturday. Pic/PTI
"Only plough on the shoulders and not guns can bring development. And this will bring everyone to the mainstream of the country. There is no future for violence. The future is only of peaceful means. The birth place of Naxal movement Naxalbari has already given up this violent means. Don't get disheartened. The macabre drama of death will end," Modi said.
Dantewada in tribal Bastar region is rich in mineral resources especially iron ore. The area has witnessed a string of Naxal attacks in the past, with the worst being the 2010 assault that left 76 security personnel dead. The Prime Minister asked the ultras to shun the gun for a few days and visit the families affected by their violence. "This experiment will force you to change your heart and make you shun your violent means," he said.
He said Dr Raman Singh, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, has already given pen and computer in the hands of children whose families were eliminated by bombs and bullets. Modi said a lot of people have been killed by 'mad men on the path of violence' and after meeting the families of victims he could say that they are fraught with many challenges and problems in their lives.
"Perhaps it is for the first time that in a programme like this MoUs worth Rs. 24,000 crore have been signed. This rail link will connect you to the mainland and mainstream of India...Send iron out and get steel from outside. This would go on but now this has to stop. We will make steel from the iron ore," Modi said.
He said wherever one goes, people will say do anything but ensure that our children get jobs. Modi said fruits of development must reach the poorest of the poor with employment for the youth are at the priority of government policies.
Taking a dig at Congress, Modi said those who could not digest victory in 60 years cannot also accept defeat. "Those who have been disregarded by the people in elections are spreading canards about the government's work. Last year when I visited this region, papers were full of stories of corruption. We have changed that. No such news has appeared in the last one year. We have shown government can be run with honesty," he said.