Debating India

Naxals push Chhattisgarh into crisis

Tuesday 24 May 2005

Dantewada, May 24. (PTI): The three-decade-old naxalite movement in Chhattisgarh has pushed the mineral-rich state into a severe crisis.

"The situation is nothing but worse now as the naxalites have a dominance over the local administration in many parts and are involved in more violent activities," a top police officer told PTI here.

The Maoist problem was not only affecting economic activities of the state but also forcing it to adopt an imbalanced model of growth because of the presence of naxalites in majority of the mineral-rich pockets of the state.

"One should think why naxalites are active in those areas, which are full of minerals or other rich resources," leader of the opposition Mahendra Karma asked.

Maoists are sitting over rich minerals, obstructing the development of the state, Karma, who was the Industry Minister in the previous Congress government, said indicating the lack of industry in Dantewada, Kanker, Bastar, Kawardha, Balrampur, Sarguja and other naxal-infested districts.

With over 150 police stations, spread over 10 districts, infested with hyper-naxal activities, the socio-economic condition has not only been affected but political activities too have been hit in those areas.

When Chhattisgarh was part of Madhya Pradesh, the region was treated as a colony sort of thing and was never in the priority for good governance, because of which naxalite movements had gained momentum here, Home Minister Brij Mohan Agrawal said.

Many thought the situation would change after the state was formed on November one 2000 but the previous Congress government had "done very little" in its three-year tenure because of which naxal activities had a bearing on both socio-economic as well as political activities, Agrawal, also a prominent BJP leader, told PTI.

In the 1990s, a committee of senior officials had given a report saying "naxalites are running a parallel administration in many parts of Chhattisgrh’s Bastar region" and the situation is now worse.

"Who said we are running parallel administration? We have liberated some of our areas through our sustained people’s war in the Abujhmad area of Dandakaranya zone (of Bastar region) where we have established people’s governance," a prominent Maoist leader Ayatu told reporters recently in Bastar jungle.

Today, the naxalites have their only administration in some areas which they called "liberated zone" where they issue vehicle passes and charge taxes from people for using the roads or staying or doing businesses.

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