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     Raipur, May 03, 2012: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh this evening expressed his happiness over the release of Sukma District Collector Alex V F Paul Menon V by the Maoists and said Nirmala Buch led Standing Committee has started functioning with immediate effect.

     “With in 10 minutes of the release of Menon the Standing committee has started functioning in the state,” the Chief Minister told reporters at his residence.

     Expressing his happiness over the release of the Sukma Collector, Singh said Menon had talked to him over phone at about 6.55 PM. “I told the Collector to spend the night at Chintalnar. Take rest and move tomorrow,” he added.

     Singh also said the state had honoured the agreement had between the interlocutors of the state government and the Maoists on April 30 last and the notification has already been issued and the Standing Committee, led by Buch and Chief Secretary and Director General of Police as members, has already start functioning.

     “This is a happy moment that the Collector has returned back. But we must remember both the body guards, who were killed on April 21, when the Collector was being kidnapped,” he said.

     He also thanked all the four interlocutors, members of the Cabinet Sub Committee on Internal Security, Chief Secretary, officers and others for the positive result.

     To a question, the Chief Minister said they would work towards establishing peace in the state in the coming days. “If others want, there should be a peace talk,” he added.

     For safe release of Menon the interlocutors from the Government, Nirmala Buch and Suyogya Kumar Misra and the Maoists interlocutors Brahma Dev Sharma and had signed an agreement on April 30 to form a high power Standing Committee, headed by Nirmala Buch with Chief Secretary and Director General of Police of Chhattisgarh as members.

     The committee would regularly review all cases of persons in jails in the state where investigation/prosecution are still in progress and in such review the lists of cases received by the mediators in respect of tribals of Bastar and surrounding areas would be given priority, Buch has said.

      The committee would give its recommendation to the State Government which will consider these cases with a sense of urgency, she said.

     The committee would become operational within an hour of the release of the Collector Sukma, Buch had stated.

     When the 2006-batch IAS officer was on a tour of the Majhipara area in Sukma District on April 21 during Gram Suraj Abhiyan, he was confronted by the Maoists guerrilla and after exchange of fire, the civil servant was kidnapped by Maoists after killing both his body guards. Menon was released today by the Maoists.

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