Tripura govt declares Rs 45 cr package for surrendered rebels

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Agartala, Oct 18 (UNI) The Tripura government today declared a package of Rs 45 crores to rehabilitate surrendered extremists who had joined the mainstream about a decade ago in the state.

Announcing the state cabinet decision here Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said about 6000 such militants were expected to get the benefit under the package while the state government had received applications from more than 3500 beneficiaries so far.

''The previous National Democratic Alliance government had declared a comprehensive package for the surrendered extremists and in accordance with the announcement former militants in Tripura, who laid down arms after April 1 1998, have been getting the benefits but we are still facing problems with the surrendrees who left the jungle life before declaration of the package,'' Mr Sarkar said.

Considering the aspect as well as the repeated pleas from the beneficiaries, the state government decided to rehabilitate all 6000 odd former rebels through the existing self-employment schemes, including one-time financial assistance in special cases, the chief minister announced.

He, however, estimated that the preliminary assessment calculated approximately Rs 45 crore for implementation of the decision and urged the Centre to release the remaining amount of the NDA announced package for surrendered militants' rehabilitations and consider including the previous surrendrees in this package.

''Only Rs 5.5 crores out of Rs 50 crores was released under the package for rehabilitating the surrendered militants, which creates problem for the state government,'' Mr Sarkar underlined.

He said the Centre was appreciating Tripura for successfully combating militancy and wanting to present it as a model before the nation but not assisting the state satisfactorily by clearing dues.

The Union Home Ministry had been funding the surrender-cum-rehabilitation scheme for militants since April 1998, including a monthly stipend of one year, followed by soft loans; reward for sophisticated small arms and explosives brought in and self-employment packages.

Meanwhile, the Tripura government was pursuing extension of the benefit all the surrendered militants who joined the mainstream prior to the date were covered either by different accords with the Union government or individual schemes by the state governments.

UNI

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