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Odisha demands pending SRE from Centre for Naxal-infested areas

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha government today demanded Security Related Expenditure (SRE) of nearly Rs 280 crore for Maoist infested districts in the State that is due from Centre since last two years, Chief Secretary AP Padhi said on Thursday.

The state government today discussed security and development related issues mainly concerned with two of the most severely Maoist-afflicted districts, Koraput and Malkangiri, Padhi told newsmen after a video conference meeting with Union Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha.

Developmental issues mainly related to electricity, mobile connectivity, banking services and road infrastructure across nearly 600 kms in both the districts were part of the discussions.

“Lack of mobile and banking penetration has been the biggest hurdle for the development in the Maoist-affected areas. So we have also apprised the Centre on that issue. In last one year only 15 bank branches have opened up which is insufficient to meet the demands. Similarly mobile services which form and integral part of the development is very poor. Voice call services are present to some extent but data connectivity is extremely poor,” Padhi said.

“Besides, we also had discussions on issues related to rail infrastructure. Last October we had signed an MOU for railway connectivity between Jeypore and Malkangiri and the Centre had agreed to bear 75 percent of the funds while the 25 per cent of the funds would be provided by the State government. But recently in June, the Railway Ministry has asked us to make complete provision for entire land acquisition. So we had asked them to stick to what they had earlier agreed in the MoU,” Padhi added.

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