Jharkhand's Buddha Pahad reeling with acute crisis; over 50% lack drinking water, toilets: Survey report

More than 55% of residents from 27 villages in the hilly terrain covered by thick forests don't even have access to safe drinking water, while more than half are without electricity.
Last Updated 17 September 2023, 16:31 IST

Jharkhand’s Buddha Pahad area, which was a Maoist hotbed for three decades before being captured by security forces last year, reels with acute lack of basic facilities, as per a new survey report.

More than 55 per cent of residents from 27 villages in the hilly terrain covered by thick forests, don't even have access to safe drinking water, while almost as many are without electricity. Moreover, almost 60 per cent don't have access to toilets, reported Indian Express.

Ironically, Jharkhand was declared a 100 per cent open defecation-free state in 2019, but realities on ground remain far from it.

As per report, 14 of the 27 villages did not have electricity; 3,000 out of 3,908 families lack clean fuel for cooking and are still dependent on firewood; 2,186 families did not have access to clean drinking water source; 2,595 families live in kutcha houses; and 2,486 families do not have access to toilets.

The survey was conducted at village, family, and individual levels by three member committee headed by the then secretary of Planning and development, Amitabh Kaushal. Other members included Latehar DC Bhor Singh Yadav and Garhwa DC Ramesh Gholap.

Buddha Pahad development project was commissioned by the state government for integrated development in the area that spans across parts of Garhwa and Latehar districts, bordering Chattisgarh.

Under the ambit of this Rs 100 crore project, 11 villages of Tehri Panchayat of Garhwa and 11 villages of Aksi Panchayat of Latehar are to be fully developed. 

'Aapki Yojana, Aapki Sarkar, Aapke Dwarprogram was also launched last year in October after initial assessment of development in the region.

The aim of the developmental project is to lay thrust on “financial independence of residents, besides providing basic amenities like housing, ration, pension, health, education, safe drinking water in saturation mode,” official government press release noted.

With the survey report released, it has become pertinent for the administration to take required measures and make sure that basic amenities reach the residents of Buddha Pahad.

In January 2023, Hemant Soren became the first Jharkhand CM who visited the area, and it was touted as a great victory for Indian forces, but not much has been achieved ever since.

The CM had declared, “Festive atmosphere was witnessed for the first time in Buddha Pahad where terror reigned for long. Now, instead of the sounds of gunfire, there will be development.”

Buddha Pahad had been a training centre and hideout of Maoists and its Politburo members, with central committee members and special area committee members controlling Maoist activities in several states from here.

Special operations by CRPF and Jharkhand Police launched in April 2022 wiped out the red reign, when 14 Maoists were killed and over 590 apprehended/surrendered.

11 top Maoists were also arrested from areas near Buddha Pahad during operation 'Double Bull' in 2022, the DGP had informed. 59 security personnel and 41 villagers were also killed during operations over the years.

(Published 17 September 2023, 16:31 IST)

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