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Chhattisgarh Governor Balramji Das Tandon today said doors are open for talks with Naxals if they give up arms and respect the Constitution. He, however, warned violence and anti-constitutional activities will never be tolerated. Tandon was addressing the main RepublicDay function here at the Police Line grounds during which he also spoke about various government schemes and its achievements. "It is our utmost duty to respect the martyrdom of those who sacrificed their lives for unity, integrity and internal security of the country," the Governor said. "The path of dialogue is open for left-wing extremists if they respect our Constitution and democracy and shun arms. But violence and anti-constitutional activities will not be tolerated at any cost," he said. Tandon hailed the sacrifices made by security forces in line of duty and lauded the contribution of freedom fighters. Referring to steps being taken to improve telecom connectivity in the state, he said communication revolution, coupled with security and development measures, will help in eliminating the menace of Naxalism. A three-tier action plan has been put in place to boost telecom connectivity, the Governor said. All panchayats are being connected (via optical fibre network) under the 'Bharat Net' scheme.
Similarly, all districts of (insurgency-hit) Bastar division will be linked under the 'Bastar Net' scheme, he said. Besides, 56 lakh families will be given smartphones under the Sanchar Kranti Yojna (SKY), he said. "I hope that sanchar kranti (communication revolution) along with security and development will help in getting the state rid of the menace of Naxalism as early as possible." Several policies, including one related to mineral, and schemes have been introduced to improve social and economic condition of the people, Tandon said. New schools and colleges have been set up in the BJP- ruled state, resulting in an increase in admission rate. Besides, the dropout rate has declined and quality of education has improved, he said. Various steps were taken to ensure better education and employment for the children belonging to the ST/SC and OBC categories, the Governor said. At least 700 students from these categories, trained at the state-run Prayas Institute, have qualified for admission in premier medical and engineering colleges, including the IIT, he said. In the current fiscal year, the government had set a target to disburse interest-free loan to the tune of Rs 3,800 crore to farmers. Of this, Rs 3,300 crore has been distributed so far, Tandon said. A target has been set to build 11 lakh houses in the next three years under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, he said. Areas under all the 168 municipal bodies and as many as 18,851 villages have so far been declared open defecation- free (ODF) in the state, he added. Earlier, the Governor unfurled the tricolour and received a guard of honour from a joint parade of personnel drawn from the state police, the Chhattisgarh Armed Police, the CRPF, the SSB, the National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme, among others.