New Delhi: The Government is coming up with a new plan to tackle the Naxals. The plan is to build better roads in the Naxal-affected areas of the country.
Union Home Ministry has directed the Road Transport and Highways Ministry to build roads in 34 districts of eight Naxal-affected states to provide easy access for forces in the rebel strongholds during combing operations and in case of an attack.
Land mine planted on roads to trigger explosions to stop and kill forces have been one of the most common forms of carrying out attacks by Naxals. The attacks become easier because of the poor conditions of roads in many of the Naxal strongholds.
So to take on the might of the Naxals, the Government is now building roads in their own dens.
CNN-IBN has got exclusive details of a Left Wing Extremism (LWE) package worked out by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry at the direction of the Home Ministry. Moreover, to show that the Government is really serious, the ministries have also set a deadline of 2012 for the entire project.
the Home Ministry has earmarked areas where it wants the Road Transport and Highways Ministry to build roads for easy access for forces.
"Home Ministry has earmarked areas and told us to build roads in Left Wing Extremism areas. Accessibility is a huge problem in these areas. Some areas are so cut-off that the police despite having information that there is a great threat perception in the area, is not able to get in for a really long time," says Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways RPN Singh.
Concrete roads also allow easy access for the forces. But the question is who will build these roads in extremely sensitive areas of the following state: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh (Dantewada and Bastar), Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra (Gadhchiroli), Orissa (Sambalpur) and Uttar Pradesh.
A total of 1202 kilometers of National highway and 4363 kilometers of state roads will be built in these areas.
A dedicated fund of Rs 7300 crore has been earmarked for this project with the Government saying that it will build these roads on its own with no private participation. The entire special package has to be completed by 2012.
"Already 112 works have been sanctioned and 20 works awarded," says Singh.
The project has been divided into three categories: high risk areas which need special protection, moderate risk areas requiring some police cover and no security threat areas.
The LWE package is not just focused on accessibility for forces. It is also the Government's strategy to provide inclusive development to those living in these areas. For a government struggling to stem extremism, perhaps a multi-pronged approach will help.