The helicopter in which chief minister Devendra Fadnavis travelled to Maoist-affected Gadchiroli district on Friday developed a technical snag after it landed, forcing him to return to Nagpur by road.
As a result, he had to cancel other evening engagements scheduled in Nagpur district.
According to a source, after winding up a day-long programme in the Gadchiroli district, Fadnavis left for a helipad at Aheri where he was told that his chopper had developed some technical snag rendering it unable to fly.
The officials tried to arrange for another helicopter that was given to the anti-Maoist squad in the district. But it was not available as the helicopter was sent for maintenance, the source said.
Fadnavis immediately left for Nagpur by road as he had a few more programmes lined up, including a lawyers’ function at the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court building.
Earlier, in a function, Fadnavis said his government was committed to the development of Gadchiroli district. “We are committed to the development of Gadchiroli and our main focus is to provide employment to locals,” he said after handing over land for the proposed sponge iron plant of Lloyds Metals and Energy Ltd at Konsari village in south Gadchiroli. Maoist menace has put hurdles in the development of Gadchiroli district all these years.
He appealed to youths who joined the ultra-left movement to join mainstream and contribute for the development of the tribal district. He said Lloyd’s plant is being set up to process iron ore and provide employment to locals. The company announced adoption of Alapalli ITI in Gadchiroli for providing training to the locals.
Fadnavis also handed over cheques to 37 farmers who gave 100 acres for the proposed sponge iron plant.
Mining iron ore has been tough in Gadchiroli considering the Maoist threat and opposition from tribals, the original inhabitants of this region who fear destruction of their livelihood from the forests and their culture. Though mining operations were restarted last year after a gap of eight years, work had to be stopped owing to threats from Maoists who torched 81 vehicles of the Lloyds Metals. However, since then heavy police force has been deployed.