Chhattisgarh taps solar energy to light up Maoist-hit areas

April 17th, 2008 - 6:08 pm ICT by admin  

Raipur, April 17 (IANS) Chhattisgarh has lit up through solar energy a massive forested hilly area that has police installations and relief camps but has been vulnerable to Maoist attacks. “The government has spent Rs.14.05 million ($351,956) in the interiors of the state’s worst insurgency-hit districts - Dantewada and Bijapur - since early 2006 to light up 44 forested locations that have either police stations, police posts or relief camps,” an official statement said Thursday.

The solar street light facilities at 480 locations were arranged by the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (Creda). The agency has claimed that it will pump in millions of rupees in the coming months for lighting up more inaccessible pockets in the forested southern interiors, which are vulnerable to Maoist attacks.

Creda officials claim that lighting up the police stations, relief camps and police posts of inaccessible pockets of Dantewada and Bijapur will help the police better counter guerrillas, who have carried out dozens of attacks in the past two years in these districts under the cover of darkness.

The Creda has recently installed solar lights at Rani Bodli village in Bijapur where Maoists carried out a massive attack on a police camp March 15, 2007, and massacred 55 cops.

Chhattisgarh’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said it has planned to light up a little over 1,200 villages of the state’s remote hilly terrain with solar energy in the next two years.

However, the government’s top priority is to provide light to the police stations and the government-run relief camps in Dantewada and Bijapur.

According to officials, around 50,000 people, mostly tribals, have been living in these camps since the launch of the government-backed civil militia movement - Salwa Judum - in June 2005.

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