WEST SINGHBHUM (JHARKHAND), April 4, 2014
Press club Of India, Indian Tehelka News
Welfare projects yet to reach people residing in this former Maoist zone
Madhu Koda, Jharkhand’s Chief Minister between 2006 and 2008, fought and won from Singhbhum in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
Around the same time, the Maoists, who had been steadily building their presence in the southern part of this constituency from 2002, declared it a “liberated zone.” The Saranda forest area, which holds a quarter of India’s iron ore and is home to Ho and Birhor Adivasis, became the Eastern Regional Bureau headquarters of the CPI (Maoist). The rebels established several training camps in the dense sal forest, bordering Odisha.
In 2011, the paramilitary forces launched a massive operation called ‘Operation Anaconda’ to flush out Maoists.
Soon after, the Ministry of Rural Development launched a Rs. 250-crore Saranda Development Plan to bring in development and to consolidate the government’s hold on the area. The Maoists retreated but, according to government officials, they continued to collect levy. They are around, looking for an opportunity to reclaim their erstwhile bastion.
Today, CRPF camps dot this area, but the distribution of welfare varies depending on the location of the villages. With elections round the corner, the villagers of Saranda just hope that their lives will become a little better whichever candidate wins.
(From : The Hindu)