The meeting was chaired by Union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi. The Odisha CM urged the Centre to encourage meritorious students and strengthen the infrastructure of the Maoist-affected areas.
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“The MHA should conduct a study on how many children from these LWE-affected areas across the country are taking national-level exams like NEET, IIT-JEE and the like. If our system continues to bypass these areas, it won’t help the people of the LWE-affected areas,” Naveen said in his address.
He added that even while fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, Odisha sustained its efforts to curb the LWE activities with substantial success. “Currently, ten (Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Bargarh, Balangir, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Kandhamal and Sundargarh) of the state’s 30 districts are affected by LWE. Significantly, only three districts from the state (Malkangiri, Kandhamal and Kalahandiare) are among the 35 most-affected LWE districts in the country. The state government receives around Rs 33.33 crore special central assistance annually for the development of the most-affected LWE districts,” he added.
He further said, “From 70% of the districts affected during the peak of the Maoist movement in the state, now we have hardly parts of three districts affected by LWE. Accessibility and economic prosperity are the biggest anti-LWE measures that we should aim for.”
The chief minister proposed to the Centre to consider the four-laning of the NH-326 from Jeypore to Motu via Malkangiri up to Bhadrachalam. Highlighting that the LWE-hit districts are not part of the railway network, Naveen said the railway ministry and the Odisha government are constructing two legs — from Jeypore to Nabarangpur and from Jeypore to Malkangiri — on cost-sharing basis.
Naveen demanded better mobile connectivity in southern and western Odisha. He said at least 6,278 villages in the state, the largest number in the country, are yet to get any mobile access or connectivity. At least 2,000 more mobile base stations are required to overcome the problem, the CM added. He laid stress on the requirement of 4G mobile base station for access to basic services like banking.
The Odisha CM also pressed for better banking facilities in the Maoist-hit areas. He said the state will provide land and buildings to set up bank branches free of cost. “I would urge the Centre to take expeditious steps to set up banks within a year or so. Banking correspondent cannot be a replacement for banks in the LWE areas,” he added.