Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has urged the Centre to step up infrastructure development in the Maoist prone districts.

This was discussed at a videoconferencing at the State Secretariat here today where the Union Cabinet secretary interacted with the senior state government officials.

Talking to media persons after the meeting, principal secretary, Home, Asit Tripathy said discussions on security and development aspects were held.

“Mostly the discussion was focussed on developmental works in left wing extremism (LWE) areas of the state. On behalf of the state government we demanded increase in the bandwidth of 257 existing mobile towers from 512 KBPS to 1 MBPS. Besides, we also requested the Cabinet secretary for approval of the proposal given to the Centre for setting up of 518 new mobile towers in the LWE areas,” he added.

Tripathy further said banking penetration in the LWE areas is very less. Since last 18 months, 12 bank branches and 14 ATM counters have been opened in Koraput and Malkangiri districts. “Since about 70 percent of the population in the LWE areas is deprived of banking facilities, we requested the Cabinet secretary to take necessary steps to set up micro ATM, ATM, Banking Correspondents, the Home secretary pointed out.

He also said request was also made to expedite Malkangiri-Jeypore-Nabarangpur rail project.

Talking about other developmental works in the LWE affected districts, Tripathy said the state government expressed concern over inordinate delay in the Central sanction for the Gurupriya bridge construction of which is underway in the cut-off areas in Chitrakonda block in Malkangiri district.

Also Read: 19 Odisha districts are Maoist prone: CM

“Out of a total estimated cost of the bridge which is pegged at Rs 142 crore, the Centre till date has sanctioned Rs 45 crore. We requested the Cabinet secretary to release the pending amount at the earliest to ensure completion of the bridge construction work by September next year”, he pointed out.

Director General of Police, KB Singh, who was also present at the videoconferencing, said the meeting decided that the Odisha Police will have a talk with Andhra Pradesh Police to launch joint operation against the Maoists very soon.

He said for effect operation against the Maoists, Odisha Police would formulate new strategies to counter their threats. He also informed that Central forces would be redeployed in the Maoist prone districts.

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