Chhattisgarh: Naxal Training Camp Busted, Cache of Arms Seized
RAIPUR: Security forces have busted a naxal training camp and recovered a cache of arms and ammunitions besides the material used in making explosives in Dantewada district, a senior official said today. The seizure was made in forested Gonderas hills under Aranpur police station limits by a joint team of security personnel last evening, Dantewada SP Kamlochan Kashyap told PTI today. The cache included thirty seven gelatin rods, eleven detonators, two hand grenades, a country-made gun, a tiffin bomb, a pipe bomb, explosives, gun powder and materials used in making bombs, he said.
A squad of Special Task Force (STF) and district force was on a three-day long anti-naxal operation in south Dantewada, around 400 km away from the state capital Raipur, since Tuesday, the SP said. While cordoning off Sopiras area in the region, they were tipped off about the Maoist training camp on the hill following which they started zeroing on at the location. On sensing the security personnel, ultras fled to core forest leaving behind their belongings which included ammunitions and explosives, the SP said, adding the seizure also included a huge number of naxal literature, some Maoist-related documents and magazines.
Jharkhand: Maoist blow up railway tracks; protest amendment of Land Acquistion Act
Train services in the Gomoh-Gaya section of East Central Railway were disrupted as suspected CPI (Maoist) ultras blew up railway tracks on Thursday during the Jharkhand bandh called by them to protest the amendment in Land Acquisition Act, railway officials said. The track was blown up on the Jamunia river bridge between Gomoh-Telo station under Dhanbad division of East Central Railway, they said. Due to the incident, several trains were delayed including Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani express, Tata-Amritsar Express, Ranchi-Mumbai Lokmanya Tilak express, Delhi-bound Samparkranti express, Gomoh-Barkakana passenger and Gomoh-Barwadih, Railway Traffic Inspector Vikas Kumar said. Later, the track was repaired and traffic returned to normal.
Meanwhile, the bandh had a mixed response in the mineral-rich Kolhan region comprised of East and West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharswan districts. While shops and market in Naxal-stronghold areas were closed, road traffic was also thin, police said. However, no untoward incident was reported from any part of the region as yet and the railway services was normal, police said.
Movement of Chhattishgarh Maoists in Border Areas of Odisha’s Rayagada-Kalahandi Districts
Report by Badal Tah, Rayagada: After receiving reliable information about movement of armed CPI-Maoist group in Niyamagiri hills adjacent to Balasaraj village bordering Rayagada and Kalahandi districts, ajoint operation was launched involving the police forces of both the districts to nab the Maoists. During the combing operation on last Wednesday at about 3 PM near village Semlabhata under Lanjigarh Police Station, the ultra left activists, all of a sudden, opened fire towards the police forces resulting exchange of fire between police force and the Maoists.
Taking advantage of thick bushes and undulated terrains, the left wing extremists managed to flee away. “It is highly suspected that some Maoists have got injured during this operation”, said Sri KSiva Subramani, SP, Rayagada during a press release on Thursday. After a thorough search on the spot, the police force was able to recover materials like: one switch board for landmine, one Tiffin Bomb(landmine), four numbers of electric detonators, 30 metres electric wire,one ADIN model walkie talkie, a Maoist Constitution, a small radio, three torch lights, two polythene sheets, some Maoist literature, clothes including winter garments and articles for day-to-day use by the Maoists. From the recovered Maoist literature, LWEs are ascertained to belong to Bansadhara-Ghumusar-Nagabalidivision of Maoist Group. Sri Y.Jagannath Rao, DSP and Sri Patel, Additional SP were also present during this press meet.
‘Development refugees’ resist Indian dam
PEDDAMETTAPALLY, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Eight-year-old Sandhya Rani tries to walk faster. It is 6 p.m. already and soon the sun will set. But the three water pitchers balanced on her shoulders – filled from a borehole well about half a kilometer from her home – slow the child down. Currently the well is the only source of drinking water for Rani’s family and neighbors in PeddaMettaPally village, in the Chinturu block of South India’s Andhra Pradesh state. In a few years time there will be abundant water here, thanks to a planned 50-metre-high, 2.3-kilometre-long megadam on the Godavari River. But Rani will not benefit. Her home – and those of hundreds of thousands of other tribal people – will be drowned by the planned dam, and she and her family turned into what critics of the dam term “development refugees”. Conceived in 1980, the Polavaram dam – also known as the Indirasagar dam – is part of India’s plan to inter-link its rivers, and to harvest and hold more river runoff, largely to use for agricultural irrigation as climate change-related droughts worsen.
WATER SECURITY VERSUS HOMES
The project is seen as crucial to the country’s water and food security by the current government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But critics say its benefits are outweighed by its effects on the region’s environment and its people. Maneka Gandhi, India’s minister for women and child development, before taking office last year called the plan “extremely dangerous,” saying it would destroy the local ecosystem and cause huge losses of land. At the proposed dam, 2.2 trillion liters of water from the Godavari River – enough to fill more than 2,000 Olympic swimming pools a day – will be diverted each year to the Krishna River, another river in the region. The diversion is designed to capture some of the 700 trillion liters of Godavari River water that today flows out to sea via the Bay of Bengal each year. The saved water will be used to irrigate over 700,000 acres of land, officials say. The dam will also produce 960 megawatts of hydroelectricity – a boost for Andhra Pradesh, which is seeking rapid development and to build a new capital city, but has a shortfall of just over 1,000 megawatts of generating capacity.
OPPOSITION FROM NEIGHBOURS
But neighboring states have objected to the plan, including Telangana, which in 2014 saw 130 of its villages transferred to Andhra Pradesh in anticipation of the project. All 130 would be submerged by the dam. “The dam will cause great human miseries because it will mean loss of homes, livelihoods and culture for people (in the region) who are from primitive tribes like the Koya and Konda Reddy,” said Kavita Kalvakuntla, a member of parliament and the daughter of Telangana’s chief minister. The states of Orissa and Chhattisgarh are also worried about potential environmental impacts such as flooding within their borders and loss of forest and farm land. They oppose the dam, and Orissa has filed a Supreme Court case asking that the project be canceled.
But the government, which cleared the way for construction by passing the Polavaram Bill last July, insists there is no significant criticism of the project. According to Venkaiah Naidu, India’s minister for urban development, there is “no controversy over the dam whatsoever”. The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu, another supporter of the dam, has asked the federal government to speed up approvals and construction, with the aim “to complete the project in the next four years,” he told reporters after meeting the country’s water minister in New Delhi on January 15. The government says building the dam will submerge 276 villages and displace 200,000 people; activists say more than 300 villages will be destroyed and over 300,000 people displaced.
People living in the threatened villages say they have had no clear communication about what is to happen to them and their land. “Until today, we haven’t received a single circular or notice from the government on the dam. We have no idea when it will be built, how exactly we will be affected and where we are going to be relocated. There is a complete information blackout,” said Bhanu Chandar, a 27-year old Koya tribal man who lives in Ummadivaram, a village of 627 people that would be submerged by the dam. Chandra is a member of Adivasi Vidyarthi Sakshema Parishad, a tribal rights group. Eru Kondalu, an anti-dam activist from neighboring Laxmipuram village, said that the decision to drown the villages follows a decade-long lack of government investment in them. “No road, office or school has been built, no scheme introduced. The government is treating the villages here as lost cases,” he said.
RISE IN INSURGENCY?
The frustration of the tribal communities could fuel an existing Maoist insurgency in the region, analysts warn. Madkami Sema, a Maoist leader in neighboring district of Sukma in Chhattiagarh, is one of those who oppose the dam. The project “will only benefit some rich, but will harm marginal farmers and tribal people. Instead of such a large dam, the government could build small dams and tanks to provide water for irrigation,” said Sema, who goes by the name de guerre Surendra.