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Naxal-infested Bastar villages beyond governance

Even as the Chhattisgarh government is working hard to establish its "rule" in the territories that Naxalites claim to be theirs, more than 500 villages in the Naxal hotbed of Bastar have no palpable governance.
The officials fail to visit the interior areas while others fear to put the things in order.
According to a study conducted by an NGO — Vanvasi Chetana Ashram, based at Dantewada district — about 600 villages in the interior areas of Bastar lack governance and the villagers are striving for proper health, education and other needs.
"The solution to the Naxal problem is not easy. But it is not so difficult that there is no solution," Himanshu Kumar, convenor of the Ashram, an NGO working for human rights and civil liberties, said.
But for that the government should have strategic plans with focus on development of the rural areas.
According to sources, development works worth more than Rs 500 crore have been stranded in different parts of Bastar region. Of them, a major share is of road construction. Over a period of last three years, rebels had brought down more than 300 school and panchayat buildings; destroyed about 20 bank buildings in the rural areas.
"How can engineers and technical staff go into the areas where even the security personnel have failed to reach," Dantewada District Collector KR Pishda told Business Standard.
He admitted that records list about 200 villages where the government had failed to reach. The development works can start only once security personnel reach the areas that are under the sway of the Left radical group, Pishda added.
The biggest problem for the state government is to propel the security personnel into offensive mode with a proper military strategy that can counter the ploys of rebels.
The changing strategy of Naxalites in attacking the security personnel and the vain attempts made by the forces to take on rebels in the past has baffled the officialdom designing the anti-Naxal plans.
It was one of the top bureaucrats who negotiated and initiated the process for hiring Punjab terror buster KPS Gill as security adviser. But the former Punjab police chief had to return early this year after he found himself tangled in the groupism simmering among state police officials.
In fact, the movement of force in the interior areas had increased in last three years.
"The increase in casualty points out that operations against the rebels has intensified in the state," Ramvichar Netam, the state home minister, explained. But the strategy lacks stride and direction, said a senior retired police official.
The state — lacking skilled and trained jawans for anti-insurgency and jungle warfare — is raising a battalion of Special Task Force (STF) that will be used only for anti-Naxal operations like the Grey Hound operating in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh, said another senior police official, the Grey Hound had brought good results and Chhattisgarh also hopes the same.
About 500 jawans were earlier trained in the jungle warfare school near Kanker. But instead of using them to combat the red army, the jawans are guarding the VVIPs in the state.



posted by Resistance 7/18/2007 09:11:00 AM,


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