Govt promises aid for projects in Maoist areas

Govt promises aid for projects in Maoist areas

In a bid to counter Maoists in their hotbed Bastar, the Centre on Monday reviewed developmental projects and security aspects in the region with top political and bureaucratic leadership of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana.

Though Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Telangana counterpart K Chandrashekar Rao skipped the meeting, BJP chief ministers from Chhattisgarh (Raman Singh) and Maharashtra (Devendra Fadnavis) attended the meeting, which also saw the presence of several Union Ministers.

An official statement said the meeting reviewed the developmental projects relating to roads, bridges, railway lines, mobile towers, post offices, banking infrastructure, education, health, radio and TV connectivity and forest and environmental clearances in Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Odisha and Maharashtra.

The emphasis on dealing with the situation in Bastar was highlighted by the Union Home minister, who said the region required “special attention” for early completion of developmental projects and a coordinated action for tackling Maoist menace in the area. Singh assured the states of necessary central assistance.

The chief ministers and senior officials like directors general of police were present as these states share a boundary with Bastar region. The Chhattisgarh chief minister emphasised on the need for enhancing coverage of Doordarshan and All India Radio beyond Jagdalpur, deep inside Bastar. He also requested that six more CRPF battalions be deployed in Bastar.

He said about 700 km of sanctioned roads remain to be completed in the state in addition to the construction of two major bridges. “About 900 sites for mobile towers have been finalised and approximately the same number of sites are still to be finalised,” he said.

Opening of more post offices and banking infrastructure in the left wing extremists (LWE) affected areas were also highlighted by the chief minister.

Fadnavis highlighted the issue of pending road works of about 150 kms and the work of Indirawati bridge awarded in January last year. He also raised the issue of construction work of laying railway track in the LWE affected areas.

Communication Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad assured that 500 mobile towers in Maoist areas to be up by March 31 and another 1,500 by August. Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Suresh Prabhu, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also attended the meeting.

“It was agreed that the LWE affected states in general and Bastar region in particular required special assistance from the centre and the Government of India may consider necessary relaxations in the policies and schemes for the development of these areas,” the statement said.