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Moushumi Das Gupta, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 18, 2013
Compared to 2011, incidents of naxal violence might have gone down but an ambitious program to provide road connectivity in the Red corridor, especially in Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, has taken a hit this fiscal. Not only has the road ministry, which is implementing the program, lagged behind in meeting its target of building 1,200 km roads this fiscal – till January 31 only 835 km was built --  but inadequate security cover is threatening to slow down work next year as well.   The ministry plans to construct 5,477-km stretch of two lane roads in 34 districts across eight states but has managed to construct just 2,170-km stretch.

With a majority of the work that is left falling in category II and III areas -- designated as high-risk zone – road ministry officials say that unless Centre provides adequate security cover it would be difficult to continue and complete work in time.  The issue will also come up for discussion at the home ministry’s meeting on Wednesday. 

Earlier, the road ministry had decided that to expedite work all road construction plans in category II and III areas will have to be finalized in tandem with the deployment of security forces. “We had written to the home ministry also. But not much has happened on the ground,” said an official.