Due to severe combing activities by the local administration, the Maoist menace has been on the decline in the Rayagada district of Odisha and has led to a road boom.
Rayagada’s lack of a proper road network due to its hilly terrain had become problematic for the administration to reach its remote corners and provide basic services. It had also become a boon for the local Maoist elements.
Of the 11 blocks in the district, seven were classified as Maoist-hit. On 28 April, Maoists set fire to vehicles used for laying roads under PMGSY at Lakhpadar under Kalyansinghpur block, reports TOI.
But now due to the reduced Maoist influence, the administration has decided to build 618 km of roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in the current fiscal.
Officials of the district’s Rural Works Department (RWD) said construction of 618 km of rural roads would cost Rs 300 crore. “Nearly 200 villages of the district will get connected with all-weather roads by March 2019,” said Pradeep Chandra Mandal, executive engineer of the RWD in Rayagada.
Local residents, too, are hopeful that better connectivity would bring development to their doorstep and strengthen their economic and health facilities.
“Without a motorable road, it is difficult to take patients to hospital. Things get worse during the monsoon as the earthen road here turns slushy and non-navigable. We are hopeful that the new road will strengthen healthcare facilities in our village,” said Bhima Hikoka, a resident of Maoist-hit Chandrapur block.
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