With govt action frozen, Naxals run Bastar now

The fear of Naxals has frozen all government actions in the area. Official machinery remains suspended deep south of Dantewada up to Konta, bordering Andhra Pradesh. The fear has penetrated among the ranks to such an extent that even government cars do not now flaunt signs of power like the number plates denoting state ownership and the customary beacon lights.

It is the “Maoists who now dictate the terms of developments,” Arun Diwan, a resident of Jagdalpur, says. The change of guard, however, has made no particular difference in the living conditions of the people here, except that death has now become such a mainstay that businesses thrive on it.

The best hospital in the area, the Mahrani Hospital, receives more of bodies than patients, and hence has earned the moniker, “Taboot Hospital” (Coffin Hospital).
Wooden coffins are being made in units in Jagdalpur and packed in it are the innumerable bodies that are brought in trucks to the Mahrani Hospital, which has facilities for preserving the bodies and for conducting post mortem.

 “The hospital receives an uninterrupted supply of bodies from Dantewada,” says Ranjan Mehta, a medical attendant at the hospital. Mahrani also has facilities for emergency surgery, but to a large extent, it is the facilities for the dead that are utilised.

For the living, life still is more or less the same. Primary Health Centres still can treat nothing more than ordinary cough. One would be lucky to find a school in the area, but jeeps with passengers hanging from the sides are a common sight. Tribals still have to carry the ailing on a cot to doctors as they did before.

Unholy nexus
Locals still blame the unholy nexus between the police, forest and revenue officials and Patwaris for the state-of-affairs in the region.

The enormous leakage of development money meant for tribal areas had left them poorer while “mine-owners, timber merchants, transporters and contractors have grown fat,” Diwan, who works in BPCL, says. According to him, these are the reason why Naxals thrive in Bastar, Kanker, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Rajnandgaon and Sarguja districts.
DH News Service

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