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Chhattisgarh reeling under Red terror

Chhattisgarh is struggling to recover from the damage inflicted by Maoist strikes in Bastar and Durg.
By Ejaz Kaiser | None, Raipur
UPDATED ON JUN 10, 2008 01:03 AM IST

Chhattisgarh is struggling to recover from the damage inflicted by Maoist strikes in Bastar and Durg.

While the entire Bastar region plunged into darkness after Maoists damaged towers on Thursday and has to wait three more days to get power supply, people in Durg have been left terrified by the landmine blast that killed three CISF personnel on Sunday. This is the first time Durg has come under Naxal attack.

Work on restoration of power in Bastar is on on a war-footing, by nearly 250 employees of the state power board in the presence of over 500 security personnel. The maoists had blasted two 220 kv towers and damaged over 30 poles of transmission lines.

Power board officials told HT that if weather permitted, Bastar would get power in the next 3-4 days. Owing to security reason, however, no work would be carried out after sunset.

To provide relief to the nearly 20 lakh people suffering from the blackout, and to ensure power to hospitals, offices, water and other essential services, large numbers of high capacity generators have been rushed to Bastar.

Chief Minister Raman Singh visited Bodali village, where the towers were damaged, on Monday, and directed Bastar division officials to work round the clock to restore power. The state government is contemplating installing solar energy plants in affected districts as alternative arrangement for the future, he said.

In Durg, people expressed alarm at the ultras’ move towards urban areas and senior state intelligence officials told HT that such landmine blasts had so far been reported only from Bastar. But Home Minister Ramvichar Netam begged to differ, saying: "I don't agree Maoists have begun their foray into urban areas." IG YKS Thakur said: "We appeal to the people not to get scared as every precautionary measure will be taken to ensure such incident are not repeated."

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