Centre clears Rs 7,300-cr roads for Naxal belt | business | Hindustan Times
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Centre clears Rs 7,300-cr roads for Naxal belt

business Updated: Nov 20, 2009 20:34 IST
Samiran Saha

The government is building a "concrete road network" right through India's Naxalite corridor that criss-crosses eight states.

Under the scheme, national highways totalling 1,202 km and state roads of 4,363 km will be constructed in a phased manner in the coming three years in 33 affected districts. The government has sanctioned Rs 7,300 crore for the project.

The government has also sought to make these roads attack-resistant, and asked agencies specialising in road construction to come up with suitable construction material.

Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand will get "Naxal-proof" roads under the project.

Naxals have often blown up roads and rail tracks to deter and prevent security agencies from venturing into their areas of operation. It is expected that these areas will now have concrete or cemented roads that can withstand explosives.

Chief Ministers of some of the Naxal-affected states, who met Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath recently, had asked for the Centre's assistance in this venture.

"Roads will be developed by the Public Works Departments of these states. Tenders for stretches that are to be developed in the naxal-infested areas will be invited soon," secretary, roads transport, Brahm Dutt said.

The states have been asked to arrange adequate security for these projects, Dutt added.

"The states have been asked to categorise these roads depending on threat perception. The ones that are most susceptible to attacks would be laid in concrete, and the ones where the threat is not of a very degree could be done in concrete and tar," a senior official with the ministry told Hindustan Times, requesting anonymity.

"Left Wing Extremists", special cell, has been created in the Road Transport and Highways Ministry to coordinate with the states to identify vulnerable roads.