New Delhi: Concerned over a key forest area in Odisha`s Nuapeda district becoming a hub of Maoist activity, Centre on Thursday proposed a special development plan to improve living of deprived tribal communities there.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who visited Naxal-affected Kalahandi and Nuapada districts and Lanjigarh block last week, has written to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik assuring his Ministry`s support to implement the initiative along the lines of the one being implemented in Saranda forests in Jharkhand.
"In Nuapada district, it is clear that the incidents of Maoist violence have gone up sharply in the last few years. The Sunabeda forest area has become the hub of Maoist activity and the attacks on the neighbouring districts like Kalahandi and Bolangir are being executed from Sunabeda area," Ramesh said in his letter proposing the special development plan in the area.
The Minister said that he had asked the district administration to prepare a draft plan for the Sunabeda forest area.
Ramesh, who would be visiting Sunabeda again on February 15, requested the Chief Minister to direct the concerned officials to focus on Sunabeda plan preparation.
Saranda Development Plan is the government`s first systematic experiment in combining a security-oriented and development-focussed approach in Maoist-affected areas on a large scale.
It is being implemented after the CRPF and the state police jointly "liberated" this area of West Singbhum district of Jharkhand in August 2011 from 11 years of Maoist control.
The Saranda Development Plan was prepared by the West Singhbhum district administration covering 56 villages in six gram panchayats of Manoharpur block. The population covered is around 36,000 (7,000 households).
The main elements of the Saranda Development Plan include building houses for 6,000 households under the Indira Awaas Yojana, construction of roads and one bridge under the PMGSY for improving connectivity to all habitations, implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and distribution of 7,000 solar lanterns, 7,000 transistors and 7,000 bicycles to the tribals.