Malkangiri: Once a fortress of left-wing extremism, Chitrakonda region of Malkangiri district earlier known as the cut-off region now rechristened as Swabhiman Anchal is undergoing a transformation, a change for good.
The change is amply visible in Khajuriguda, a village in Swabhiman Anchal. The farmers here who were earlier forced into cultivation of cannabis by the Maoists are now cultivating vegetables and paddy after the area was freed from the Red rebels by the security forces and better connectivity to the area with the construction of the Gurupriya bridge.
The tribal people of this village are now growing bell peppers, papaya, tomatoes and other vegetables on acres of land instead of cannabis and are earning good profit.
Earlier, they were forced into cannabis cultivation by the Maoists who used to usurp about 50 per cent of the profit earned from the narcotics trade.
However, the change occurred after the establishment of the police camp at Jodaamba.
The establishment of the police camp freed the area from the dominance of the Maoists and the people have taken to farming traditional crops instead of hemp.
“Earlier this area was cut-off region now it has been named Swabhiman Anchal. We used to cultivate ganja, now we are cultivating vegetables. Now connectivity has improved, there are roads so business has improved,” said Gopal Badnayak, a farmer of Swabhiman Anchal.
The district administration is providing all support to these tribal people in their endeavour.
Project Director, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) Balmukund Bhuyan says, “We are working on mission mode to bring the people into the mainstream. We have taken up all programmes of the government like SETU (Socio-Economic Transformation and Upliftment’ ) programme, Millet Mission, Mission Shakti programme for mainstreaming the people here. We are focussing on livelihood apart from providing basic amenities”