Andhra Pradesh

‘Tribals in cut-off area want development’

Malkangiri district Collector Manish Agarwal interacting with the tribal people of Jodomba village in the AOB area.

Malkangiri district Collector Manish Agarwal interacting with the tribal people of Jodomba village in the AOB area.  

They want roads, but Maoists are obstructing it, says Malkangiri Collector

Post the incident at Janturayi village in the cut-off area of Andhra Odisha Border, in which a senior Maoist leader was stoned to death and another seriously injured by tribal people, the locals, braving the threat of retaliation from the banned outfit, have come out openly demanding development in their area.

District Collector of Malkangiri, Manish Agarwal, who visited the area after the incident told The Hindu that the tribals, who had been facing hardship for over six decades, now want development at a faster pace.

The cut-off area, which comprise 151 habitations spread over nine panchayats, started witnessing development with the opening of the Gurupriya bridge in July 2018.

“Now we are building roads, which is enabling people to reach the mainland in two to three hours in case of medical emergencies. They want more roads and the Maoists are obstructing their construction,” he said.

The conflict, which led to the death of the Maoist cadre in the intervening night of January 25 and 26, was mainly due to the Maoists trying to threaten the tribal people for supporting the construction of the road from Jantapai to Jodomba via Vantalagudda.

“This area is an interior part of the cut-off area. As there has been no development since many years, the Maoists have established base there. Now, they feel threatened. But the tribals want development,” he said.

Braving the threat from the Maoists, the Collector and his team visited Jodomba and provided ₹30,000 as relief from CMRF and ₹3,000 as emergency fund to the tribals, as their houses were burnt by the Maoists in retaliation.

“Apart from the immediate relief, we will also provide fresh Aadhaar cards as they lost their belongings in fire. Apart from roads, we will be providing street lights and other facilities,” said Mr. Agarwal.

Earlier, tribals from Jantri used to take 24 hours, which included 12 hours of boat ride, to reach a PHC at Chitrakonda or Malkangiri. Now, with the bridge and roads, they can reach in three hours, so why will they not look for development,” he said.

In the intervening night of January 25 and 26, four hardcore Maoists, accompanied by 15 militia members, entered Janturayi and asked the residents to oppose development and hand over four youth for supporting the government agencies that were involved in road building. They also asked the tribals not to hoist the national flag on Republic Day. Opposing the threat, the tribals beat them up, in which one Maoist, Ganga Madhi alias Adma, was killed and another Jipra Hatrika was injured.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:03:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/tribals-in-cut-off-area-want-development/article30886745.ece

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