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Only 25% roads constructed in Maoist areas of Chhattisgarh

The CRPF, which is deployed to provide security cover for road construction, has cited inadequate work of private contractors as one of the main reasons for the delay.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2017 00:43 IST
Azaan Javaid
Azaan Javaid
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Chhattisgarh,Maoist areas,CRPF
A road being constructed in a Maoist area in Chhattisgarh. (HT file photo / Representational)

The 56-km stretch from Dornapal to Jagargunda in Chhattisgarh’s ‘Red corridor’, where 25 CRPF personnel were killed in a Maoist ambush in April, is one of the 12 roads and bridges projects that are lying incomplete after work on them started in 2011.

According to government data obtained by HT, of the 300 km of road stretches that were to be constructed in Dantewada district, authorities have completed work on only 75 km — 25% of the proposed roads.

Of the under-construction roads,the longest is a 74 km stretch of NH-30 connecting Sukma with Konta, a region that has witnessed multiple Maoist attacks in the past few years. Work has been completed on only 24 km on the Sukma-Konta stretch , the highest among the 11 road projects.

It is, however, the 56 km Dornapal to Jagargunda stretch that has senior officials of the CRPF concerned as work on only eight kilometres has been completed.

The CRPF, which is deployed to provide security cover for road construction, has cited inadequate work of private contractors as one of the main reasons for the delay. “Road projects are awarded to the best bidder among private contractors and the government releases 10% of the total funds allotted to them so that work starts immediately. But all this is not so simple,” said a CRPF official.

He said many bidders don’t turn up due to fear of retribution by Maoists who are against any kind of road construction in their stronghold. “Making a road in Maoist areas is not only about infrastructure development. They are the medium to defeat the Reds as they not only aid in better counter-Maoist operations but also help us reach out to the people of the region,” the official said.

He added that the Centre was taking efforts to get private contractors to do their work while providing security cover to them. However, this seems insufficient. Since 2014, 53 CRPF personnel have died during road construction duties; the maximum deaths — 38 — were reported in 2017.

“Those (contractors) who are awarded the contract are not as professional as we want them to be. There are other limitations that result in the delay as well,” the official said. Paucity of labour and usage of old machinery were among the other limitations cited in government documents.

First Published: Aug 20, 2017 00:42 IST