Bridge tribals' trust deficit in Naxal areas: PC

New Delhi, May 13 : Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday asked India Inc to bridge the yawning "trust deficit" between industry and the tribals who have been opposing development projects despite the benefits these bring.

"Why is there such distrust between people and those who want to bring development?" Chidambaram asked.

Tribals form a significant portion of India's 33 most Naxal-affected areas, some of the most backward districts that are also the richest in terms of mineral wealth and natural resources.

But Maoists and many tribals stand in the way of new projects for mines or power plants — or create problems in existing projects — on grounds that the projects robbed the region of its natural wealth.

Chidambaram has paramilitary forces fighting Naxals under his charge and has been accused of ignoring the lack of develop-ment in these backward regions.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh – who had criticised him for stressing far too much on police action – told CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate on Wednesday that the Maoists were "misguided ideologues" but could not be equated with cross-border terrorists.

At the annual function of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Wednesday, the home minister spoke against use of excessive force to resolve the problem.

Instead, Chidambaram held out a mirror to India Inc that he said didn't seem concerned enough.

"It is a wake up call for us. We must ask why there is a trust deficit among the people of India, government of India, government of states," the home minister said.

"Why is there so much distrust of people who want to bring development and industry?" he asked.

Chidambaram also asked civil society — the section that did not believe that governments were bad, ugly and the enemy — should raise their voice rather than become the "silent lamb".

"This section, to put it charitably, is quiet, to put it uncharitably, totally unconcerned," he said.

Chidambaram made it clear that the government had the capacity to hit out at naxals but wanted calibrated, controlled police action to reassert the writ of the state and bring development to these areas.