Road construction seemingly slow in Maoist-affected areas of India

The Indian government’s initiative to carry out development works in Left Wing Extremism-affected states face hurdles as road construction in these areas is “abysymally slow”.

The government has sanctioned construction of 9,338 km of roads but of these only 1,796 km length of roads are complete, a parliamentary panel has said.

It has been observed that there is delay in construction of roads in the most sensitive LWE areas like Telangana and Chhattisgarh and this is slowing down the inclusion and development processes of these regions and negatively affecting the capability of Central Armed Police Forces and state police in tackling the menace.

The government is carrying out development works in LWE areas under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) and Special Infrastructure Scheme. It is being executed and monitored by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

This state of affairs was disclosed in a report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by Congress Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, on the Demands for Grants of Ministry of Home Affairs placed in Parliament on December 21.

The committee noted that of 9,338 km sanctioned roads under Road Connectivity Project for LWE Affected Areas (RCPLWE), only 1,796 km length of roads have been completed.

The panel has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs for the reasons regarding “abysymally slow progress” in completion of these roads especially with respect to Telangana where 147 km has been completed out of 705 km and Chhattisgarh where 319 km has been completed out of 2,479 km.

The government had said that it believes that through a holistic approach focussing on development and security-related interventions, the LWE problem can be successfully tackled.

It has also stated that the extremists do not want root causes like underdevelopment to be addressed in a meaningful manner since they resort to targeting school buildings, roads, railways, bridges, health infrastructure, communication facilities etc in a major way.

They wish to keep the population in their areas of influence marginalised to perpetuate their outdated and failed ideology. Consequently, the process of development has been set back by decades in many parts of the country under Left Wing Extremists’ influence, the government added.

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