‘Connectivity is key to development in Agency’

Krishna Rao Boddepalli

Krishna Rao Boddepalli  

Rapid development alone will help eradicate left-wing extremism in Visakhapatnam Agency, and the police will focus on assisting agencies involved in development activity, Superintendent of Police B. Krishna Rao said.

In order to keep the CPI (Maoist) in check, emphasis will be laid on completing road projects and ensuring that mobile phone towers are secured. Ganja smuggling, which is also a source of revenue for the Maoists, will be curbed, Mr. Krishna Rao said.

Speaking to The Hindu, he said that tribals are in need of better road and mobile phone connectivity, which are crucial for development in the Schedule V area.

Visakhapatnam Agency is spread over 6,200 sq. km, and nearly 1,800 villages are totally cut off from the mainland due to lack of roads.

Logistics support

“The primary goal is to get more villages connected by basic metal roads, after which we will go for all-weather bitumen roads. The concerned agencies are working in this direction and we will provide them the required logistics support and security,” said Mr. Krishna Rao.

The Maoists, since the beginning, have been opposing the construction of roads and it is understood that they do not want development with the sole intention of keeping the region under-developed to retain their sway.

But now, tribals are coming forward and demanding the construction of roads, and some projects are progressing in the AOB region which is considered to be the Maoist heartland.

The region will benefit from the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana which has allocated ₹82,000 crore for construction of roads in rural and tribal areas extending to a length of 1.2 lakh km.

According to Mr. Krishna Rao, some road construction works in interior pockets are in progress and are in an advanced stage, such as in Annavaram police station limits and Koyyuru-Mampa- GK Veedhi road and Majigaruvu-Kilamkota route.

Ambitious plans

Another thing high on the tribals’ wishlist is better mobile phone connectivity in the entire Agency area.

It is learnt that BSNL has plans to set up 120 mobile phone towers, while Reliance Jio is also planning to venture into the area by setting up mobile towers.

Poor network coverage

As of now, 20-25% of the Agency is covered by mobile phone connectivity and the plan is to take it up to at least 70% by the end of this year, Mr. Krishna Rao said.

Most of the projects were progressing at a good pace but then came to a sudden halt due to the nationwide lockdown that was imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Superintendent of Police said.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 4:05:41 PM |

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