Chhattisgarh Government has launched a multi-pronged approach to deal with the Maoists. It has decided to set up skill development centres based on the model of livelihood for their development
Left Wing Extremist (LWE) and their supporters always argue about lack of development as the reason for local support to their activities. At the same time, they create hindrance in the development process of the state. Fear factor they create among the tribals is another important reason. In year 2000, Maoists decided to create People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army and they completely changed their strategy. The Maoist activities started in Bastar region in 1980s. Now Bastar and 7 adjoining districts are Maoist affected. 60 per cent of the landmines blasts have taken place in Bastar. They are using mobile phones, internet and even launchers now. From common people to political leaders, everyone is on their target. Traders face the extortion by ultras.
On this background, Chhattisgarh government has launched a multi-pronged approach to deal with the problem. On the one hand, contact with the villagers is being improved through the police machinery. Police force has been increased from 23 thousand to 70 thousand. A training academy to fight the Naxal menace is functional now. 537 Maoists have been arrested while 40 are killed during fights. Maoists are being encouraged to surrender and complete rehabilitation plan is being rolled out. Under the scheme of fortification of Police stations 775 Police Station buildings are to be constructed in Chhattisgarh with support from the Central government. 40 Police stations have been completed, 25 are in progress. Additional requirement of 50 fortified police stations in LWE aeas has been raised in the scheme.
Night landing facility for helicopters is being created at 07 district headquarters and 07 interior camps of Bastar Range to deal with any emergency situation. Night landing trial at Chhotebetiya & Bijapur helipad has been completed successfully. 4 MI-17 helicopters of IAF & 03 ALH/ Dhruv of BSF airwing are available in the state to assist security forces during anti-Naxal operations, in logistic support, induction /de-induction of security forces and for casualty evacuation.
Special Task force (STF) with headquarter at Baghera, Durg is under construction, besides 4 STF operational hubs at Sukma, Jagdalpur, Kanker & Bijapur are under progress. Training is also an important component of the initiative under which 4 Counter Insurgency and Anti-terrorist Schools (CIAT) funded by the Central government are functioning at Chadkhuri, Bilaspur, Rajnandgaon & Jagdalpur to train personnel of the state Police in Counter-insurgency. A Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare college has been established at Kanker to train the security forces. To get the bomb disposal training, an IED school has been also started at Raipur. District level training centers (DTC) have also been sanctioned for 10 Naxal affected districts.
The security measures are coupled with development initiatives to ensure that fruits of governance reach to the masses. On communication front, installation of 146 mobile towers is being approved by Ministry of Home Affairs in the affected districts for which free of cost land is made available to BSNL by the State government.
Dedicated security to 22 selected LWE roads has been made available for which 12 additional Posts have been opened up. To connect interior villages with main highways in LWE areas of Bastar Range connecting roads are to be sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna. Similarly, laying of rail tracks on 95 Kms long Dallirajhara-Raoghat rail project is under progress for which 4 battalions of Central Armed Police Forces are being deployed.
Good Police-public relationship is the foundation of crime free society and to improve the community relations Police must come forward and interact with public and ensure speedy redressal of their grievances. Various programs like-distribution of household items, sport items, medical camps etc. are being regularly organised in Naxal affected villages. State government plans to open PDS shops near camps of security forces in interior areas. Chhattisgarh government has decided to set up skill development centres in each district of the State based on the model of livelihood, a College has also been started in Dantewada district. The institute would impart short term training to the youths to improve their skill in a particular trade through a three to six month course.
An education hub is also being created at Jawanga with the objective of teaching one to think intensively and critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the vision behind this project. This will help the children from backward villages to prepare themselves for various qualifying and entrance examinations.
Besides this, installation of solar plants and giving financial benefits to the police personnel working in the Left Wing affected areas are also part of this scheme.
This approach of development and security hand in hand can help in addressing the problem in the long run.
Pawan Deo (The writer is IG of Chhattisgarh Police)