Chhattisgarh: Centre To Speed Up Road Construction In Eight Districts To Tackle Maoist Menace

Chhattisgarh: Centre To Speed Up Road Construction In Eight Districts To Tackle Maoist MenaceThe Injeram-Bhejji road under construction. It was while patrolling along this road under construction that 25 CRPF men were killed in an ambush by Maoists

The central government has decided to speed up road construction activities in Chhattisgarh’s eight worst affected districts to counter the Maoist terror, reports The Economic Times.

Earlier this month, on 3 April, 23 jawans were martyred in a gunfight that broke out between Naxals and the security forces in Chhattisgarh’s Terram jungles, along the border of Bijapur and Sukma districts.

In the wake of Maoist menace in Chhattisgarh, the government has decided to speed up the road construction process in the districts which are highly affected by the Naxalites, namely Bastar (394.4 kms), Bijapur (98.45kms), Dantewada (139.425 kms), Kanker (583.025 kms), Narayanpur (98.05 kms), Rajnandgaon (389.825 kms), Sukma (264.375 kms) and Kondagaon (511.475 kms).

“We have opened up the critical Palli-Barsur axis by deploying forces in Bodli and Kademeta. The Aranpur-Jagargunda axis was opened up by deploying forces in Kamarguda. In 2021, we would be taking up the remaining work,” Bastar IG Sundarraj P told ET.

The road connectivity project for left wing extremism (LWE) affected areas were approved by the NDA government in 2016. For Chhattisgarh, the government had approved road construction of 2,479 kilometers (291 roads). Since then, 500 kilometres of roads have been constructed in Sukma-Bastar-Dantewada region and nearly 200 km was made operational in 2020-21.

These roads will connect 11 pathways — Sukma-Konta, Kutru-Bedre, Awapalli-Illmidi, Injaram-Bheji, Bhopalpatnam-Bijapur, Dantewada-Katekalyan, Antagarh-Bedma, Barsur- Gondapara, Jeeram-Tongpal, Bhanupratappur-Irpanar and Awapalli-Usur.

But, such development does not come easy in these regions. In April, 2018, Maoist in Balrampur set ablaze six vehicles belonging to the team engaged in the road construction project and also abducted one sub-engineer and two construction workers.

In April, 2017, 26 CRPF jawans were martyred in a Maoist attack in Sukma region of Chhattisgarh. The attack was carried out by the violent LWE to thwart the road construction activities.

The Bastar-Sukma-Bijapur axis is virtually the last Maoist bastion where its ‘Battalion One’ is located. 16 new CRPF base camps were established in the Bastar range in 2020 to tackle the violence caused by the Naxalites in the region. “Security camps not only protect the lives and properties of civilians but also provide an atmosphere for development,” an official said to ET.

Diksha Yadav is a Staff Writer in the Swarajya newsroom

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