A road to development in Maoist hotbed
Through ‘Project Varadhi’, the district police, with the involvement of tribal folks, succeed in bringing a couple of turnaround
At least 9 out of the 11 mandals in the Agency areas of Visakhapatnam district have been below the stranglehold of the banned CPI (Maoist) for the final 20 years, because of which they’re devoid of even fundamental infrastructure.
Many tribal hamlets in the inside areas, particularly in the Andhra Odisha Border (AOB) area, stay reduce off from the mainstream, primarily due to lack of road connectivity.
But with the safety forces making inroads into the AOB area and taking on “new-age community policing programmes,” the tribal folks, who’ve been dwelling below the concern of the Left Wing Extremists (LWE), are starting to witness the government-sponsored developmental actions.
‘Project Varadhi’ is one such programme that has been initiated by the Visakhapatnam District Police in the Chintapalli space of the Agency.
The Chintapalli Police Sub-Division covers virtually 1,400 sq km of the 6,200-odd sq km of the Visakha Agency. It borders Malkangiri in the AOB area, and has been a standard hub of the Maoists.
“The aim of the project is to improve road connectivity to interior areas by involving the tribal people, and making them own the project. Roads will pave the way for developmental activities such as mobile phone connectivity, and educational and medical initiatives,” stated Vidyasagar Naidu, ASP of Chintapalli.
The tribal folks of Cheruvuru, a Maoist stronghold, had, for the primary time, seen an ambulance visiting their hamlet when a road was laid to the village in a single day in November final, Mr. Naidu stated.
As of date, about 45-km of road has been laid in a number of the Maoist hotbeds with the help of the tribal folks, the police and the Paderu ITDA, benefiting an estimated 12,000 folks.
“We now have an Aadhaar centre too, which benefits at least 4,000 tribal people,” stated a tribal from the Balapam space.
Some of the roads laid below the venture included a 6-km stretch from P.K. Gudem to Mandapalli, a 4-km road from Korukonda to Cheruvuru, and a 5-km road from Jerella to Assampalli, all recognised as Maoist strongholds.
The venture, envisaged by Superintendent of Police B. Krishna Rao and OSD Sateesh Kumar, includes laying of a easy and cost-effective kutcha road.
While it prices ₹70 lakh to lay a one-km BT road, a five-km kutcha road prices between ₹70,000 and ₹1.20 lakh.
“We focussed on laying kutcha or gravel road of five-metre width to enable at least two vehicles to move freely,” stated Mr. Naidu.
Challenges en route
“To involve the tribal people and make them own the project was quite a task. It took some time to instil confidence in them. In the tribal areas, any person seen interacting with the police, or any government employee, is branded a police informers by the Maoists and are killed,” Mr. Naidu stated.
Motivating the contractors to provide the earthmoving tools and begin work was one other problem was by the police.
The involvement of the tribal folks made all of the distinction. They had come ahead to represent committees to shield the tools and the employees, in addition to providing ‘shramadan’ and offering logistical help, he stated.