To root out terror, Maharashtra to develop minority-dominated districts

Sep 17, 2015, 08:20 IST | Sharad Vyas

Maharashtra will focus on infrastructure and urban planning in minority districts to prevent radicalisation of the youth and to promote communal amity

The state is pulling out all the stops to ensure that terror is rooted out from Maharashtra. Fed up of making efforts to de-radicalise the youth from joining terror outfits, Maharashtra has now made an interesting choice: it has linked urban planning — or the lack of it — to the growth of communal forces in the state.

On Wednesday, the government declared the four districts of Bhiwandi, Malegaon, Aurangabad and Sangli-Miraj, as minority-dominated areas that needed special stimulus for sustained infrastructure and planning. A lack of it over the years, the government has concluded, has resulted in radicalisation of the youth and communal disharmony.

The decision was taken after a meeting of the chief minister with top police officials on the issue of ‘de-radicalisation of youth and preserving communal amity’ last week. A provision of R1 crore has been set aside for this objective for a start. This sum will cover the four regions mentioned earlier in the first phase of the scheme, declared on Wednesday.

“The development funds thus far are distributed by various departments for urban planning based on different factors, such as population, demography etc. But separately we have not been diverting urban development funds for creating infrastructure in minority dominated areas or districts which have a dominant minority population.

This is set to change now,” said a senior official of the urban development department. The government has also appointed a committee to approve work from these four regions to expedite the process of urban planning in these districts. “The government has defined ‘minority’ for this purpose.

But the idea is to provide basic facilities in these regions on an urgent basis so that the youths do not feel neglected or left out of the state’s growth story,” said an official. While ‘minority’ for the purpose of this scheme has been defined as Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Parsi, the first four areas selected are Muslim dominated.

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