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Vikash Sharma

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday urged the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to conduct a study to find out how many children living in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas across the country are successful in clearing national-level tests like NEET, IIT and JEE.

While attending a crucial meeting on LWE, which was chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, Patnaik put forward five proposals including the conduct of a study by MHA. “If our systems continue to bypass these areas, it is not going to help the cause of people of LWE affected areas,” said Patnaik.

The other proposals include:

1. Four laning of road (NH 326) from Jeypore to Motu via Malkangiri. This will provide a parallel road for traffic from eastern India, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand to the southern states, especially Bangalore and Hyderabad. This corridor, in addition to reducing the travel time substantially, will also provide huge economic impetus to the region.

2. The LWE affected districts are not pan of the Railways network. Railway Ministry and Odisha Government are already constructing two legs - from Jeypore to Nabarangpur and Jeypore to Malkangiri -- through cost sharing basis. However, the missing part between Malkangiri to Bhadrachalam (153 KM) and Nabarangpur to Junagarh ( 118 KM) can provide a very viable alternate path to the trunk routes of railway and have a huge impact on economic growth of these areas.

3. Providing mobile connectivity to areas of southern and western Odisha. There are 6278 villages in Odisha without any mobile access or connectivity. Union Home Ministry has sanctioned 488 number of mobile towers for Odisha recently. But to provide coverage to other uncovered villages, an estimated 2000 more mobile base stations are required. It is also pertinent to mention here that most interiors depend on mobile connectivity and mobile internet service for banking, education and delivery of all government services. Today, the basic need, therefore, is of 4G mobile base stations at all places. It is therefore required to upgrade the 2G base stations erected earlier.

4. We have not been successful in creating banking facilities in these areas. State government will provide land, building etc. for setting up bank branches free of cost. I would urge the Union Government to take expeditious steps to set up banks within a specific time frame of one year or so. “The State government's commitment will continue with our pro-active security strategy combined with sustained and holistic development of tribal areas to address the issue of left wing extremism,” said Patnaik in a release

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