Maoist Torch Vehicles in Odisha Opposing Road Construction

Development of infrastructures for Dangaria tribe is in top priority for district admn
Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: Niyamagiri part of Kalyansinghpur block is in news again, of course for a bad reason. Last Saturday night during wee hours, Red rebels had torched at least ten vehicles of R & R Infratech(India) Pvt Ltd camped at Melkajoba village under Shingari GP & engaged in the road construction under PMSY(Pradhan Mantri Sadak Yojana) from Naringitula to Chatikona. around eight armed Naxals came and warned the staff to leave the place after which they torched all the vehicles. The ultra left out fit claiming it to be CPI(Maoist) under Rayagada Area Committee in their handwritten posters termed them as brokers of police and VEDANTA company, who were talking about roads. Another poster mentioned that in spite of doctors, ambulance and roads, Dana Majih had to carry his wife’s corpse for miles. “Claiming that nobody will be deprived of education and health if road comes up is only a farce. Roads are meant for plundering the natural resource of the area and suppressing the local people”, said another poster.

Niyamagiri is inhabited by Dangaria Kandha tribe. After Mrs Guha Punam Tapas Kumar, IAS, Collector took over charge before a year or so, development of infrastructures for this PVTG(Primarily Vulnerable Tribal Group) was one of her top priorities. She had had series of interface with this PVTG to seek feedback for their own development. To curtail the exploitation by the middlemen, she implemented a market yard in Chatikona. During the recent flash flood in K Singhpur, she alongwith a team of committed officers and local leaders personally and successfully monitored the Relief and Rehabilitation measures for the affected, especially the Dangaria Kandha tribe. In the absence of proper roads to some villages in Niyamagiri, she set a milestone by introducing bike ambulances. Establishing a “Maa Gruha”-Maternity Homes at Parsali, the hotbed of left extremism, for pregnant women facilitating institutional delivery was certainly a laudable effort. Most recently, setting up of a centre for developing the weaving skills of hundreds of Dangaria women will certainly go a long way in fine tuning the already prevalent artistic acumen of these women in traditional shawl production. The skill will emphasize not only shawl production but also diversify the production with development of quality yarn.

“There were scores of media releases about tribals not being able to access health facilities due to absence of roads and bridges in Kalyan Singhpur block. Responding to the infrastructural deficiency and media audit, the district administration started constructing roads in a war footing basis by engaging credible contractors of repute like R & R Infratech from Visakhapatnam. It has also other plans to develop the communication network in Niyamagiri. We have to construct PMSY roads as per the GOI guidelines and not at the behest of any company or outfit. According to some persons or institution, if roads are meant for plundering natural resources, we are really helpless. If ever plundering takes place in future, the left outfit has all the potentiality to destroy the same road. The mindset is really dogmatic. Let’s give DEVELOPMENT a chance and then judge”, said a top official of the district maintaining anonymity.

As a new Commandant in 4th battalion of CRPF has recently taken charge from his predecessor, the intensive operation has to take off. providing security to the contractors working in these sensitive areas.