S. Harpal Singh
Political interests cited as the reason for delay in start of works Political interests cited as the reason for delay in start of works
Villagers seek immediate start of work on the projectGangapur 'experiment' began in November 2003 The experiment was featured in the BBC in 2004
ADILABAD: The promised deliverance by way of a pucca road has not come to Gangapur so far despite over one year since money was sanctioned. By causing delay in laying this road, the State's resolve to address the naxal problem by use of alternate methods seemingly gets diluted.
Gangapur in Adilabad's Kadem mandal is a predominantly tribal gram panchayat located 13 kms deep into the forests. It attracted the Government's attention, as it was a stronghold of Maoists making it a case fit for experimenting in the use of 'alternate methods' like people's policing.
The delay in laying of pucca road as assured by the district administration in 2004 made tribals from the interior villages take to streets.
Rs. 2.6-crore project
They staged a protest march demanding immediate start of work on this Rs. 2.6 crore project.
The famous Gangapur 'experiment' began on November 20, 2003 when the district police initiated 'shramadan' work on the road linking the interior village to Nawabpet. For the next 25 days, villagers from one of the 10 hamlets took turns to join a batch of 30 policemen toiling to make the entire stretch motorable. History was made when an RTC bus ferried passengers for the first time to Gangapur on January 18, 2004.
This effort gave the villagers an opportunity to explore quickly new avenues for economic activity.
They were able to find better markets for their agriculture produce, mainly paddy. Besides, the medical and health services of the Government also came within their reach.
The stranglehold of Maoists on the hapless tribals was thus broken and they no longer enjoyed free access to the habitations around.
The effort also fetched even international laurels for the police department in the area of community policing.
Even the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) featured the Gangapur experiment in 2004.
Results of the Gangapur experiment were fast to come. On January 14, 2004, villagers resisted an attempt by Maoists to regain lost ground.
Enthused by such results, then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had sanctioned Rs. 20 lakhs for laying a section of the road.
Later, more money was sanctioned for the entire stretch to be laid. However, officials reveal on condition of anonymity that political interests were the reason for delay in start of works.