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Gogoi to decide on ULFA talks: PC

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Nov 1 � The proposed peace talks with outlawed ULFA got a boost today, with Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram backing Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi stating that he has the liberty to take a call on the timing of the talks.

�I have left to the Chief Minister of Assam to decide, when and how the talks should begin. So the Chief Minister of Assam is in touch with the ULFA leaders, or the other way around � the ULFA leaders are in touch with the Chief Minister,� the Home Minister said.

�So, when the offer for talks is made by ULFA, I am sure the Chief Minister will decide. We have left it with him to decide on the time,� Chidambaram said.

The Home Minister presenting his monthly report for October, recalled his statement in July, when he had said that the Chief Minister had been given the go-ahead to initiate the dialogue with ULFA.

The Chief Minister had last month announced that he received a green signal from the Home Minister to start the peace process. He had further disclosed that the Centre�s interlocutor, PC Haldar would take the necessary direction in this regard. Gogoi had hinted at the possibility of starting dialogue with ULFA by December.

�We have authorised the Chief Minister of Assam to decide when and in what manner the talks can be held,� the Home Minister had said while presenting his monthly report for July.

However, the Home Minister then had ruled out the possibility of releasing the ULFA leaders, citing serious legal charges pending against them.

Replying to a question then, Chidambaram had remarked that the detained ULFA leaders could talk with the government from the prison. �People in jail can also talk if they want to,� said the Union Home Minister.

Clarifying further, Chidambaram had pointed out that the ULFA leaders were in judicial custody and executive cannot release anybody who is in judicial custody.

Several of the detained leaders, however, have either been released or are in the process of being released to facilitate early dialogue with the government now.

Meanwhile, despite a plea by Nagaland Government to withdraw the State from the Disturbed Area list, the Centre today extended it to June 30, 2011 under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

The Centre was pressed to withdraw the disturbed area tag, as the Government of India is engaged in dialogue with both factions of NSCN.

Meanwhile, Chidambaram said that on October 20, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved the proposal for improvement and maintenance of NH 53 by the Border Road Organisation (BRO) at a cost of Rs 335.49 crore.

About the progress of work on Indo-Bangladesh border, Chidambaram said that 11 km of fencing and 15 km of road works were completed last month under Phase II of the Project, while 17 km of fencing was replaced under phase III of the project. Poles for flood lighting were erected on a length of 50 km and cables were laid on 10 km, he added.

On the Indo-China border, the Home Ministry stated that 59.73 km of formation works and 3.23 km of surfacing works were completed, last month.

By the end of October, 33 Integrated Check Posts have been networked, as part of project of computerisation and networking against the target of 42 ICPs.

Five ICPs have been set up in West Bengal, Dalaighat, Ragna, Sabroom in Tripura, and Mancachar in Assam. ICPs were networked with the Central Foreigners� Bureau (CFB), taking the total of CFB-networked ICPs to 68 out of 77, he added.

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Gogoi to decide on ULFA talks: PC

NEW DELHI, Nov 1 � The proposed peace talks with outlawed ULFA got a boost today, with Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram backing Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi stating that he has the liberty to take a call on the timing of the talks.

�I have left to the Chief Minister of Assam to decide, when and how the talks should begin. So the Chief Minister of Assam is in touch with the ULFA leaders, or the other way around � the ULFA leaders are in touch with the Chief Minister,� the Home Minister said.

�So, when the offer for talks is made by ULFA, I am sure the Chief Minister will decide. We have left it with him to decide on the time,� Chidambaram said.

The Home Minister presenting his monthly report for October, recalled his statement in July, when he had said that the Chief Minister had been given the go-ahead to initiate the dialogue with ULFA.

The Chief Minister had last month announced that he received a green signal from the Home Minister to start the peace process. He had further disclosed that the Centre�s interlocutor, PC Haldar would take the necessary direction in this regard. Gogoi had hinted at the possibility of starting dialogue with ULFA by December.

�We have authorised the Chief Minister of Assam to decide when and in what manner the talks can be held,� the Home Minister had said while presenting his monthly report for July.

However, the Home Minister then had ruled out the possibility of releasing the ULFA leaders, citing serious legal charges pending against them.

Replying to a question then, Chidambaram had remarked that the detained ULFA leaders could talk with the government from the prison. �People in jail can also talk if they want to,� said the Union Home Minister.

Clarifying further, Chidambaram had pointed out that the ULFA leaders were in judicial custody and executive cannot release anybody who is in judicial custody.

Several of the detained leaders, however, have either been released or are in the process of being released to facilitate early dialogue with the government now.

Meanwhile, despite a plea by Nagaland Government to withdraw the State from the Disturbed Area list, the Centre today extended it to June 30, 2011 under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

The Centre was pressed to withdraw the disturbed area tag, as the Government of India is engaged in dialogue with both factions of NSCN.

Meanwhile, Chidambaram said that on October 20, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved the proposal for improvement and maintenance of NH 53 by the Border Road Organisation (BRO) at a cost of Rs 335.49 crore.

About the progress of work on Indo-Bangladesh border, Chidambaram said that 11 km of fencing and 15 km of road works were completed last month under Phase II of the Project, while 17 km of fencing was replaced under phase III of the project. Poles for flood lighting were erected on a length of 50 km and cables were laid on 10 km, he added.

On the Indo-China border, the Home Ministry stated that 59.73 km of formation works and 3.23 km of surfacing works were completed, last month.

By the end of October, 33 Integrated Check Posts have been networked, as part of project of computerisation and networking against the target of 42 ICPs.

Five ICPs have been set up in West Bengal, Dalaighat, Ragna, Sabroom in Tripura, and Mancachar in Assam. ICPs were networked with the Central Foreigners� Bureau (CFB), taking the total of CFB-networked ICPs to 68 out of 77, he added.