Left extremists call shots as govt fights back with development work

BIJAPUR: It’s a township visible only on either side of the national highway, with more than two-thirds of its 2.55 lakh population inhabiting rural areas inside thick forests rich in iron ore and other minerals. The district, created in 2007 by the Chhattisgarh government, is among the worst Maoist-affected areas of the state as some of its areas are “liberated zones” where the diktat of Left-wing extremists counts due to the absence of government agencies.

Its geographical position, on border with Telangana and Maharashtra, and thick forest s covering the tri-junction has made it easier for the Maoist brass to make the inhospitable patch their home.

Poor mobile phone connectivity, frequent power cuts and lack of job opportunities are issues bothering the tribal dominated district. A senior Central Reserve Police Force officer, who did not wish to be named, lamented that most of the time mobile phones don’t work due to bad connectivity.

If there is some disruption, then it may take a week to repair the fault, he said.

The Central and state governments have, however, tried to bring some development into the district by opening a wellequipped district hospital, to overcome the problem of people travelling 160 kilometres to Jagdalpur for getting medical attention, a Kendriya Vidyalaya to educate the rural population and push the literacy rate beyond 40% and an Industrial Training Institute. The sitting MLA of Bijapur, Mahesh Gagda, is from the BJP and is also a minister in the Raman Singh government.
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Source: Economic Times