Govt to link road projects with security cover in naxal areas

To push road projects that have slowed down in naxal-hit areas owing to violence and lack of coordination between different government agencies, the road ministry has chalked out a revised strategy to remove the roadblocks.
The ministry plans to construct 5,477-km stretch of two-lane roads in 34  districts across eight states which are affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE). But it has managed to construct just 1,811-km stretch.

The ministry has now decided that road construction plans in “Category III” areas (high-risk zones) will have to be finalized in tandem with the deployment plan of security forces in these areas. The itinerary for shifting of camp for the security forces will have to be included in the Road Requirement Plan itself.

Depending on threat perception, the government had put the entire 5,477-km stretch in LWE areas in three categories. Of the total roads planned in LWE areas, 1800-km fall in Category III in which only 51-km stretch could be completed.

“Unlike in the past, when contractors could simultaneously start work at several points on a particular stretch without depending on the availability of security forces, now they would have to make their construction plan along the route of security deployment,” said a ministry official.

The decision to work in close coordination with security forces was necessitated as presently a sizeable number of ongoing road projects fall in Category III.

“These areas are exposed to maximum violence and it is difficult to work there without the security cover,” said an official. This decision was taken last month in a meeting held in Chhattisgarh which was headed by road secretary AK Upadhyay.

Till now, the ministry has spent Rs. 2,132 crore out of the Rs. 7,300 crore earmarked for LWE areas.

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