CRPF to build first road in Maoist hotbed

Last Updated 18 March 2014, 09:38 IST

With civil contractors reluctant to take up road construction work in Naxal-hit areas, the CRPF has for the first time taken upon itself to build a 7 km stretch in the Maoist hotbed of Sukma in Chhattisgarh.

The force, which is guarding a number of road projects in the state, one of which came under attack in Tongapal last week killing 15 security men, will soon bid for the tender and related procedures of gaining rights to construct the particular patch which is considered one of the important lifelines of the area.

The paramilitary will deploy its civil engineer troopers and supervisors to see the completion of the project and it will be guarded by an armed squad.

"This is a pioneer step we have taken to ensure that road projects in Naxal areas are taken up and completed. Our engineering wing will supervise this maiden project that been undertaken by the force," CRPF chief Dilip Trivedi told PTI. He was speaking after reviewing the security in the state in the aftermath of last week's Naxal attack on security personnel in Bastar area of the state.

The CRPF Director General said it was essential for security forces to "dominate" the roads in these areas as they are harbingers of development in far-off areas and hence an eyesore for Naxals who do not want progress to usher in order to maintain their strongholds.

"We are determined to keep doing the road construction and securing task. Such attacks (last week in Tongapal) will not deter us," Trivedi said.

The particular project route is being kept under wraps for security reasons and the stretch is also crucial for forces as it will enable them to carry men and material to their posts in remote jungle locations.

The Union Home Ministry, two years back, had sanctioned a full-fledged civil engineering wing in the country's largest paramilitary force, mainstay for anti-Naxal operations in the country as it was getting difficult to get roads constructed in Naxal areas as civil workers feared for their security.

The wing was mandated to not only recruit engineering manpower from the public domain but also depute some of its existing expertise in these areas for the road buildings task.

The unit will function under command of the Additional DG (Works) of the CRPF and will also have state police and civil construction officials in its decision-making board.

According to sources, some more road projects are under the consideration of the CRPF and Union Home Ministry for independent construction by the force.

(Published 18 March 2014, 09:34 IST)

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