Patnaik Demands Centre’s Help For Maoist-affected Districts

In a meeting with Union Minister Amit Shah at Delhi, Naveen Patnaik placed several key demands that are crucial for the development of some of the Naxal-affected areas of the state. The demands include railway connectivity for Malkangiri and Nabarangpur districts, banking and telecom facilities in all Naxal-affected areas, more funds for roads, schools and hospitals in these areas.

“We also demanded deployment of at least one battalion of central force in Naxal-affected districts and a chopper for emergency situations. Forest dwellers in LWE-affected areas should be given land and other benefits for their survival. Communication and infrastructure development holds the key to tackle LWE menace,” said minister of state for home Dibya Shankar Mishra, who also attended the meeting.

In Odisha, 4,000 gram panchayats out of 6789 are located in Naxal-affected districts that do not have banking facilities. As per sources, 15 out of 30 districts are affected by LWE. However, such activities were not reported in Gajapati, Mayurbhanj, Ganjam, Jajpur and Dhenkanal—five of the affected districts in 2018.

About 6,000 of 8,000 villages that do not have telecommunication services are located in LWE-affected districts. Services of 248 mobile towers that are set up by BSNL in these districts are of poor quality.

According to the data released by the state government, LWE activities are under control in Odisha, though conditions in Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Nuapada and Kandhamal districts remain as a challenge for the police.