Odisha declares Five Districts as ‘Maoist-free’
In a major improvement, the Odisha government has declared five districts – Angul, Boudh, Sambalpur, Deogarh, and Nayagarh – as free from Left-Wing Maoist Extremism (LWE). As these districts reported no cases of Maoist-related violence or attacks in the last two years, they have been declared as Maoist-free.
Odisha Director General of Police Abhay said that the state government has approved the Odisha Police’s proposal to remove the aforementioned districts from the centrally sponsored Security-Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme, which allows for capacity building and infrastructure development in areas hit by Maoist violence.
In 2012, a total of nineteen districts featured in the list of Maoist-affected areas. Subsequently, in April 2018, six districts – Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Gajapati, and Ganjam – were taken off the list, as there had been no active attacks in the preceding two years. However, in the same year, Angul and Boudh were added to the list of districts affected by LWE.
With the latest update, a total of ten out of thirty districts in the state are presently affected by insurgency-related violence. The 10 LWE-affected districts are Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Bargarh, Balangir, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Kandhamal, and Sundargarh. “We have increased our presence and set up security camps in the 10 districts. Efforts are being made to wipe out Maoist influence from the 10 districts,” said Abhay.
DGP Abhay attributed the success in exterminating the Maoist operatives from the five districts to the massive anti-Naxalite operations being conducted by the security forces, as well as good governance. The Odisha government offers lucrative incentives for operators who surrender themselves. He also mentioned that the tight vigil ensured by the forces did not permit the Maoists to regroup.