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Maoists’ so-called Jantana Sarkar is shrinking: Vivekanand, IGP, Bastar range

Author: Shantanu Nandan Sharma
Publication: Economic Times
Date: March 11, 2018
URL:      https://m.economictimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/maoists-so-called-jantana-sarkar-is-shrinking-vivekanand-igp-bastar-range/amp_articleshow/63248504.cms?__twitter_impression=true

Vivekanand, inspector-general of police of the Bastar range, where Abujhmad falls, tells ET how speedy road construction and mobile connectivity are the key to eradicate Maoists from the area. Edited excerpts:

On the terrain of Abujhmad and its first survey

Abujhmad is a large tract of forestland. It’s a hilly and difficult terrain. Connectivity from the district headquarters to far-flung areas is still an issue. That is why Maoists chose this area as their hideout.

Till some years ago, Maoists were with the villagers all the time — be it during festivals or other major occasions. But things have been changing since 2007, when the Narayanpur district was carved out (of Bastar district). Abujhmad started getting more attention. A number of police and security camps were set up. Once a camp gets stabilised, development activities begin.

A revenue survey was carried out for the first time in 2017, mainly in areas near the security camps. No land rights have been granted in the area, in the legal sense. But villagers are now aware that the survey will eventually lead to their entitlement to land.

On Maoists’ targeting road construction

The police and the ITBP are giving protection to road construction activities in Abujhmad. Till date, a stretch of road has been fully completed on one side — up to Dhodai (35 km from Narayanpur town). From there, new roads are being laid towards Badsur (in Dantewada district).

We have established two camps ahead of Dhodai to ensure Maoists don’t disrupt construction activities. In the Dhodai-Orcha stretch, work has been completed till Chota Dongar. By the end of the year, an all-weather road will reach Orcha.

This will see a growth in economic activities in Orcha, in particular, and Abujhmad in general. Another problem is mobile connectivity. The block headquarters has BSNL network but connectivity is very poor.

The administration has been in touch with private players to expand their base up to Orcha. Speedy road construction and mobile connectivity are key to eradicating Maoists from Abujhmad.

On the battle against Maoists

A new block has been proposed at Pokameta (25 km from the district headquarters). A part of Abujhmad that’s now in Orcha will then fall in Pokameta. Maoists are resisting it tooth and nail. But they have been cornered. Their so-called Jantana Sarkar is getting shrunk in Abujhmad, too. That’s why resistance is only logical.
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