Naveen Patnaik Asks Centre To Strengthen Infra In Maoist-Affected Areas

New Delhi: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday requested the Centre to consider several development proposals to strengthen infrastructure in Maoist-affected districts of his state.

Participating in a meeting of several Chief Ministers, chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, to review the Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) situation, he said: “The state government’s commitment will continue with our pro-active security strategy combined with sustained and holistic development of tribal areas to address the issue.”

He requested the proposal of four-laning NH 326 from Jeypore to Motu, via Malkangiri, be considered, as “this will provide a parallel road for traffic from eastern India, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand states to the south, especially Bengaluru and Hyderabad. This corridor, in addition to reducing the travelling time substantially, will also provide huge economic impetus to this region”.

Patnaik also pointed out that the LWE-affected districts are not part of the railways network.

“Railway Ministry and Odisha government are already constructing two-legs – from Jeypore to Nawarangpur and Jeypore to Malkangiri — through cost sharing. The missing part between Malkangiri to Bhadrachalam of length 153 km and Nawarangpur to Junagarh of length 118 km can provide a very viable alternative path to the trunk routes of the railway. This will have a huge impact on the economic growth of these areas,” he said.

He also requested the Union government to consider providing mobile connectivity to areas of southern and western Odisha.

“There are 6,278 villages in Odisha without any mobile access or connectivity, the largest number in the country. We thank the Union Home Ministry for sanctioning 488 mobile towers for Odisha recently. But to provide coverage to other uncovered villages, an estimated 2,000 more mobile base stations will be required,” he said.

Noting that most interior areas depend on mobile connectivity and mobile internet for banking, education and delivery of all government services, he said: “Today, the basic need, therefore, is for 4G mobile base stations at all places. It is, therefore, required to upgrade the 2G base stations also, erected earlier.”

He also urged the Union government to take expeditious steps to set up banks within a specific time frame of one year or so in LWE-affected areas of states.

“We have not been successful in creating banking facilities in these areas. State government will provide land, building etc for setting up bank branches free of cost,” Patnaik said.

He also suggested that the Ministry of Home Affairs should do a study on how many children from these LWE-affected areas across the country are successful in national level exams like NEET, IIT-JEE and others. “If our systems continue to bypass these areas, it is not going to help the cause of people of LWE-affected areas,” he said.

(IANS)