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Home / India News / Odisha plans development in Maoist hotbed with support to self help groups

Odisha plans development in Maoist hotbed with support to self help groups

The government initiative comes a little over a year after it built a 910 metre-long bridge connecting the Swabhiman Anchala to the mainland.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2019, 00:46 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Swabhiman Anchala in Odisha’s Malkangiri district has been a Maoist stronghold for decades.
Swabhiman Anchala in Odisha’s Malkangiri district has been a Maoist stronghold for decades.(AP FILE PHOTO)

The Odisha government has prepared a blueprint for economic development of Maoist heartland of Cut-off area (now renamed Swabhiman Anchala) in Malkangiri district that includes providing chicks and poultry sheds, goats, sewing machines, leaf-plate making machines to the self help groups, officials said.

Officials in Malkangiri said under Socio Economic Transformation and Upliftment scheme, a Rs 100 crore programme for the people of Swabhiman Anchala, the government plans to support the 378 women self help groups so that they can take up activities like poultry farms, goatery units, pisciculture, organic vegetable cultivation, organic turmeric cultivation, mushroom cultivation, leaf plate making units and sanitary napkin units helping the tribals there earn a livelihood.

The government has also planned to start 4 ragi processing plants along with storage facility, packaging and branding as the area is known for Ragi cultivation for ages.

The government initiative comes a little over a year after it built a 910 metre-long bridge connecting the Swabhiman Anchala to the mainland.

“The people residing in that area have been for long very poor. Due to fear of Maoist activities and lack of communication facilities and geographical barriers, many developmental programmes relating to livelihood, agriculture, education and health could not reach the tribals. We are now making a determined attempt to take development to the remotest parts of the region,” said Malkangiri district collector Manish Agrawal.

The area containing 151 villages in 9 gram panchayats remains a major cause of concern for the state police as the Maoists commanders of the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee operate there. Sandwiched between the Balimela reservoir on one side and daunting hills on the other side for almost four decades, the area was out of bound for the government till in July last year when the government built a bridge ending decades of isolation for the 37000-odd people of the area.

While the long-pending bridge has become a reality, the promised infrastructure in the interior parts of the region as well the economic development is yet to be realised due to lack of communication facilties in the harsh terrain.

“To reach villages in the panchayats like Andrapali, Jodambo and Jantri, we have to take a ride in the motor launch across Balimela reservoir for nine hours and then walk for hours. Since there are no roads, we have to either walk for hours together or ride mules and horses. Many of us travel at least 50 km to collect rice, kerosene from public distribution system,” said Sudarshan Khara, a resident of the region.

Sadhan Sarkar, the Cluster Resource Centre Coordinator of Papermetla in Swabhiman Anchal said he has to travel on boat, walk for miles and ride horse to visit schools under his jurisdiction in Swabhiman Anchal. “It has to be the most inhospitable terrain in Odisha,” said Sarkar.

To alleviate the problems of nutrition among children in anganwadis in the region, the government now plans to give extra two packets of chhatua (a powdered mixture of groundnut, sugar, wheat and Bengal gram) to pregnant women, lactating mothers and children. To spread education among the people of the area, an educational complex with residential facilities for teachers, playgrounds would be constructed in Badapada area of the region.

Officials said the state government has sent a proposal of Rs 55.5 crore to the rural development ministry for construction of 120 km concrete road in the region under Road Connectivity Project For Left Wing Extremism (RCPLWE) programme. The roads proposed to be constructed under Road Connectivity Project For Left Wing Extremism(RCPLWE) programme of RD ministry would connect places like Papermetla, Panasput, Kuntulpadar, Musruguda, Jodambo, Laxmipuram and Kumuda where Maoists have a free run.

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