Fear of Maoists blocks road projects in ChhattisgarhDecember 11th, 2011 - 2:14 pm ICT by IANS
Raipur, Dec 11 (IANS) Funds to the tune of Rs.3,000 crore (nearly $600 million) allocated for road construction in Chhattisgarh’s interior areas have been lying unutilised for many years as contractors are wary of taking up tenders due to fear of Maoists, a Chhattisgarh minister says.
Maoist militants dominate in the vast forested stretches of Chhattisgarh.
“Building roads in interior areas is extremely difficult because of Naxal (Maoist) movement. Naxalites have not been allowing construction works of about Rs.3,000 crore for four-five years,” Public Works Department Minister Brijmohan Agrawal told IANS in an interview.
“Funds of about Rs.3,000 crore are not invested because no one is ready to participate in tender works in certain projects. We issued some tender notices seven times, but still the work was not awarded. In cases where tenders were awarded, contractors left the projects without completing it,” said Agrawal, a legislator since the 1990s.
Agrawal, who is considered number two in the 13-member council of ministers in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, remarked: “Even the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has backed out from road projects in Naxal areas.”
“It explains the real difficulties we have in developing roads in interiors of the state, mainly in the Bastar region,” said Agrawal, who is also in-charge of the school education portfolio.
The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) hold sway in jungles of the state’s sprawling 40,000 sq km Bastar region which is made up of five districts — Bijapur, Dantewada, Bastar, Narayanpur and Kanker.
In April 2010, the rebels massacred 76 troopers in a single attack in a hilly area in the region. It is described as the biggest ever attack carried out by the rebels in the country since they began their armed struggle from a village of West Bengal in 1967.
The minister said the government was keen to award construction projects in interior areas but contractors refuse to participate in the tender process in certain areas because of Maoist fear.
The minister also said the government was keen to provide quality education in the Maoist-affected areas.
“Maoists have blown up about 250 school buildings in Bastar interiors…but the government is determined to provide education in these areas,” the minister said.
“Bastar’s geography is very different from other parts of the country. One village is located far away from another village in the interiors; that makes the government job difficult to open schools.
“But in the past five years, we have opened 1,300 schools in the interiors under the ‘Gyan Jyoti’ scheme where a teacher is appointed even if there are as few as 10 students,” the 52-year-old politician said.
He claimed that Chhattisgarh, which has a literacy rate of 71.04 percent as per Census 2011, would achieve cent percent literacy rate by 2020 because of the state government’s concerted efforts to take education to each village.
(Sujeet Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
- Maoists hold up development in Bastar - Mar 26, 2010
- Chhattisgarh seeks education package in Maoist-hit areas (Lead) - Jun 11, 2010
- Rs.600 crore sanctioned for Maoist-hit Bastar - Jun 23, 2010
- Andhra Maoists sneak into Chhattisgarh? - Aug 29, 2012
- Raman Singh begins rural drive from Maoist heartland - Apr 18, 2012
- Teaching in the shadow of the gun in insurgency-hit Bastar - Sep 05, 2011
- Chhattisgarh can maintain 11 percent GDP: Raman Singh - Dec 08, 2011
- Special jungle roads needed to combat Maoists, says expert - Oct 24, 2011
- Maoists creating hurdles against developmental works in Bastar region - Nov 28, 2009
- Chhattisgarh seeks education package for violence-hit areas - Jun 11, 2010
- Environmental activist: Another Binayak Sen in making? - Jun 14, 2011
- Has right to education fallen victim in Maoist-hit Bastar? - May 26, 2010
- Two CRPF troopers killed in Chhattisgarh blast (Lead) - Aug 07, 2012
- Chhattisgarh BJP wooing tribals in violence-hit Bastar - Jun 10, 2012
- Chhattisgarh assesses rural development, skips rebel areas - Apr 18, 2012
Tags: agrawal, bharatiya janata party, border roads, chhattisgarh raipur, communist party of india, construction works, council of ministers, crore, education portfolio, hilly area, interior areas, kanker, maoist, maoist movement, maoists, member council, naxalites, road projects, tender notices, west bengal