Bhubaneswar: In a bid to deal significantly with the increasing problem of left-wing extremism (LWE) in the State, the State Government on Friday decided to raise cash prize for arrest of frontline Maoist leaders, official sources said.

The reward amount which was upto Rs 12 lakh for top Maoist leaders will now be increased upto Rs 20 lakh.

The state police has already identified at least 28 hardcore Maoists whose arrest would fetch reward. The arrest of top 3 guerrillas, identified as Sabyasachi Panda of Odisha, Ramakrishna and Modem Balakrishnan of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, who were behind all the major naxal violence in the State, would fetch Rs 20 lakh. The arrest of others will fetch between 3 lakh to 12 lakh, sources said.

It is noteworthy to mention that this is the highest reward money given by any State in the country for nabbing top ultras. While Andhra Pradesh has provision of rewarding Rs 12 lakh for enabling arrest of top Maoist leaders, the maximum amount announced by Chhatishgarh is Rs 7 lakh.

The amount fixed by the State Government towards reward money was Rs 12 lakh for Central committee members, Rs 10 lakh for State committee members, Rs 5 lakh for district committee members and Rs 3 lakh for divisional committee members.