The naxalites don’t allow construction of roads leading to their hubs and hideouts. They have damaged machinery and other equipment whenever we have tried,” said a senior rural development ministry official on condition of anonymity.
But elsewhere they have no problem with roads. A recent survey conducted by the rural development ministry in 31 naxalite dominated districts across eight states showed that, the pace of road construction under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) was higher than that in other districts of the same state. In a few other areas where they have a strong presence, the pace was slightly lower than in districts where there were no naxalites.
In Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, road construction moved faster in naxal districts than in non-naxal ones. In Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the pace was a tad slower than in other districts.
In naxalite strongholds like Dantewada, Narayanpur and Bijapur districts of Chhattisgarh, for instance, road construction is proceeding slowly. “We issued tenders for road construction on five different occasions but due to naxal terror no contractor showed any interest in building roads in the Bastar area,” said R P Mandal, secretary, panchayat and rural development, Chhattisgarh.
The situation in other naxal-infested districts of the state is relatively better with over 60 per cent of the scheme implemented, he added.
The reason naxalites don’t object is because road construction is a major revenue source for them. They can extort large sums from the contractors.
“Naxals earn good money from the road construction activity. They need substantial funds for their sustenance,” the official said.
(with inputs from Ejaz Kaiser, Raipur)
Table: Comparison of progress of work in naxal and non-naxal districts
State Work completed
UP Naxal affected district (1) 84 per cent
Remaining districts 80.95 per cent
Orissa Naxal affected districts (5) 54.66 per cent
Remaining districts 47.47 per cent
Maharashtra Naxal affected districts (2) 88 per cent
Remaining districts 60.10 per cent
AP Naxal affected district (1) 84.03 per cent
Remaining districts 90.15 per cent
Bihar Naxal affected districts (6) 57.61 per cent
Remaining districts 40.63 per cent
MP Naxal affected district (1) 61.50 per cent
Remaining districts 55.23 per cent
Chhattisgarh Naxal affected districts (5) 75.80 per cent
Remaining districts 88.93 per cent
Jharkhand Naxal affected districts (10) 80.81 per cent
Remaining districts 82.42 per cent