The home ministry is planning to field police engineers to execute development projects in Maoist-affected areas.
The reason: private contractors - even the big ones - have refused to take up jobs in these areas. So far, only the armed forces have a dedicated engineering corps.
For the first time in India, the CRPF and state armed forces will raise engineering battalions with civil engineers to execute projects without depending on the civil administration.
Several months ago, when told that Maoists were scaring away contractors from Red strongholds, home minister P Chidambaram had asked his officials to come up with a plan to tackle the situation.
A senior government official told HT that the problem was so severe in many districts that the administration couldn't build even basic security infrastructure.
In Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district, for instance, policemen deployed in hostile territory had to live out of tents as no contractor came forward to build them a camp.