Baghel requests Centre for fund to end Maoism, generate jobs in Bastar

Chief minister proposes five-point plan to initiate development projects to help farmers and forest dwellers and wean youths off Maoist activities

naxals
The Bastar region has been witnessing a rise in Maoist activities, with six killings reported in September, 2020 alone. Representative Image: PTI

In the face of a resurgence of the Left in Bihar, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh has chosen to train his guns at Maoist activities in the state.

In a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the chief minister has sought financial help to end the “malaise of Naxalism” in the state by creating jobs and providing financial aid to districts in the Bastar region that are affected by left wing extremism.

Baghel in the letter has proposed a five-point plan to nip Maoism in the bud and start development activities in the Maoist-affected stretch.

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He has told Shah that while more connectivity should be established in the forested region, youth of the area should be given jobs to prevent them from joining Naxals.

“If the steel plants set up in Bastar, an iron-ore rich area, are provided iron ore with a 30 per cent discount, several firms would be encouraged to set up and will provide jobs for many,” he wrote.

The chief minister also urged Shah to grant ₹50 crore each to collectors of the seven aspirational districts in the region, to create jobs.

Apart from requesting grants for the Bodhghat irrigation project, aimed to be constructed on river Indravati to help farmers in the Bastar region with irrigation, Baghel has asked for funds to open cold chains and related facilities to ensure collection of forest produce.

This is the second time the Chhattisgarh chief minister wrote to Shah on the matter. He had earlier shot a letter to the home minister requesting additional CRPF battalions promised to the state since 2018.

Baghel’s letter comes in the wake of a remarkable performance by Left parties in the Bihar Assembly polls. Left parties which were part of the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan won 16 of the 29 seats they contested. While the CPI and CPM won two seats each, CPI (ML) Liberation, which has a history of extremism, bagged 12 constituencies in the state.

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Kerala has also reported a spurt in Maoist killings in police encounters in the recent past, indicating a rise in Maoist presence in the state. In 2019, the Centre’s intelligence body Multi Agency Centre (MAC) had spoken about an increased influx of Maoist from the Dandakaranya zone, in south Bastar, towards Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu.

However, recent reports talk about a rise in Maoist activities in Bastar of Chhattisgarh, apparent from the killing of people and attacks on policemen in September this year.

 

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