Launch services stopped due to Maoist threat

Malkangiri: Launch services in Balimela reservoir in Odisha's Malkangiri district came to a halt on Wednesday due to threat from suspected Maoists, snapping the lone communication link for people in 151 villages of the cut off areas of Chitrakonda region.

All the launches provided by Irrigation department for the villagers in cut off areas of Chitrakonda located across the sprawling reservoir, about 60 km from here, stopped operations, official sources said.

While the department had provided six launches, only four were operating at present as two others were out of order, they said.

Launch service was the only mode of transport for reaching these villages of seven panchayats located in the cut off areas on the other side of Balimela reservoir.

The decision to suspend the service for an indefinite period was taken as a safety measure following a threat issued to the reservoir staff by suspected Maoists seeking a halt to the operations, they said.

Concerned over the development, people in the area fear that health services and availability of essential commodities in the Maoist-affected cut off region would be severely hit.