Admitting that unabated Maoist violence has hit its education system hard, Chhattisgarh has urged the central government to release a special package for the six most affected districts, an official said on Friday.
"Chhattisgarh government has informed in written to Indian government that Maoist violence has taken a heavy toll on education system in the state and the state government needs a package from the Centre to bring the education system back on track mainly in six worst-hit districts," a senior education department official told IANS.
Chhattisgarh's School Education Minister Brijmohan Agrawal submitted a letter to Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal in New Delhi on Thursday and sought a special package for the five districts of Bastar region besides the western Rajnandgaon district.
Bastar is made up of five districts - Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Bastar and Kanker. Police say the government has no presence in an estimated 450-500 villages of the region where 1,750 people have lost their lives in Maoist violence since 2005. Of the sprawling 40,000 sq km thickly forested interiors in Bastar, up to 25,000 sq km is intensively mined by the guerrillas.
"Agrawal told Sibal that Maoists had bombed a large number of school buildings and teachers were reluctant to attend schools fearing threat to their lives. Even the government is finding it tough to construct new school buildings because of the unabated violence," the official said.
The minister also told Sibal that Chhattisgarh needed a special package to bring the education system back on track, specially in the Bastar region and Rajnandgaon bordering Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district.
Bastar has witnessed several deadly attacks in recent years. On April 6, the rebels carried out their biggest ever attack on policemen in Dantewada district, massacring 76 security personnel, including 75 of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
On May 17, 31 people were killed in the same district in a powerful landmine blast that hit a civilian bus.