Dantewada in Chhattisgarh is a place usually in the news for all the wrong reasons. Known as a hotbed of Naxal activities in India, the place is in the news again, this time because of 18 young minds. This Naxal-affected district has earned the distinction to give 18 students to have cleared the prestigious JEE examination.
With the Union Home Ministry removing 44 districts from the Naxal-affected map of the country, students clearing competitive examinations is a positive outcome and the importance of education appears to be increasing in these areas.
“18 children cleared the examination of JEE Mains. It’s a moment of great happiness for us. Efforts are that children sit for JEE Advance with full preparations,” news agency ANI quoted District Collector Saurabh Kumar as saying.
For the students, it is a step towards realising their dreams and they are naturally elated. “It’s our dream to get into IITs or NITs. We feel very happy. We are preparing for Advanced and are determined to perform well,” a student said.
JEE, Main and Advance are conducted every year by the Central Board of Secondary Education for selecting students to various IITs and NITs of the country. This year, out of registered 11, 35, 084 students, 22, 31,024 have qualified for Advance stage.
The Naxal-affected areas, also known as the ‘red corridor’ of the country, have been a serious challenge for successive governments at both the state and central levels. The developmental tasks are strongly resisted by Left Wing Extremists, which is visible every now and then in the form of attacks on workers and security personnel.
The states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are considered to be affected areas, according to Home Ministry, while Chhattisgarh is among the worst hit.
Union Ministry has a separate Left Wing Extremism division, created in 2006. The division reviews implementation of various development schemes of ministries and departments of the Government of India in the affected areas.