250 people from Marenga and adjoining villages in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district held hostage by Naxals ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to naxal-affected Dantewada district to take stock of socio-economic development initiatives being taken there.
Two mega projects for setting up of ultra mega steel plant and second phase of Rowghat-Jagdalpur railway line will be inaugurated during Modi’s visit, state government officials said.
The Prime Minister was also scheduled to inaugurate an Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) and Police headquarters, besides laying the foundation stone for construction of 40,000 affordable houses for the Lower Income Group and Economically Weaker Sections at Naya Raipur. But, the events of Naya Raipur have been cancelled after the dome over a stage being erected for PM Modi’s public rally collapsed on Friday in severe storm.
“While the work was underway, suddenly the weather changed and a severe storm hit the place, damaging a portion of the dome which fell on the police personnel and workers present,” Inspector General of Police G P Singh told PTI. At least 50 persons were injured, mostly policemen, as per the reports.
Under the revised plan, Modi, after landing here, will fly to Dantewada, worst-hit by naxalism, to take stock of socio-economic development initiatives and undertake a road journey of nearly 22 kilometres.
Modi will also visit a livelihood college, that has been imparting necessary skills to youths living in Dantewada region to help them get suitable employment opportunities.
Dantewada in tribal Bastar region, is rich in mineral resources, especially iron ore. The area has witnessed a string of naxal attacks in the past, with the worst being the 2010 Maoist assault that left 76 CRPF personnel dead.
The Prime Minister will have ‘Mann Ki Baat’ with six children, whose parents had been killed by Maoists and will visit the Education City in Dantewada spread across over 100 acres and built at the cost of approximately Rs 120 crore.
It is estimated to serve almost 5,000 most deprived children of the region every year by providing them the opportunity to have quality education.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up of the ultra-mega steel plant at Dilmili village in Dantewada, with a capacity of three million tonne every year, will be signed during the Modi’s visit.
Chhattisgarh will have direct investment of more than Rs 18,000 crore through this project. Over 10,000 people in the region will have direct and indirect employment opportunities through this project, they added.
Another MoU for second phase of railway-link between Rowghat and Jagdalpur will be inked during the Prime Minister’s visit.
The 140-km rail link, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 24,000 crore, will connect Bastar region with important cities of the state like Raipur, Bilaspur and Durg. The rail link will also help in easy and cheaper transportation of iron ore for industries.
These two projects are expected to rapidly help in socio-economic transformation of Bastar which is considered as backward region, the officials said.
A MoU for second phase of Rowghat-Jagdalpur line was signed earlier also but was shelved due to lack of funds.
Meanwhile, a multi-layered security blanket has been put in place in the strife-torn Dantewada district.
“Around 10,000 paramilitary forces apart from state’s armed and special forces, involved in anti-naxal operations,
are part of the watertight security measures for PM’s visit to Dantewada,” a senior state police official monitoring security arrangements told PTI.
Special Protection Group (SPG) officials in coordination with state police and paramilitary officials are dealing with security arrangements, he added.
As a precautionary measures, all the tribal weekly markets in the area have been shut down till Prime Minister winds up his tour to Dantewada while armed guards have been deployed at all the strategic locations, he said.
Besides, patrolling has been intensified in the interior forest pockets and inter-state borders to check suspicious movements, the official added.
“A multi-layered security will keep a hawk eye at every programme venue of PM,” he added.
Naxals have given two day ‘Dandakaranya bandh’ call on 8-9 May in support of their boycott to PM’s visit.