Other States

First bus rolls into Odisha's Swabhiman Anchal after Independence

The administration has also neglected Swabhiman Anchal because of Maoist threat. File photo: Biswaranjan Rout

The administration has also neglected Swabhiman Anchal because of Maoist threat. File photo: Biswaranjan Rout  

People in Swabhiman Anchal (formerly known as the cut-off area) in Odisha’s Malkangiri district on Friday saw a passenger bus plying for the first time in their region after Independence.

The Swabhiman Anchal, which was covered by water from three sides and another side by inhospitable terrain, lost its remoteness after construction of the Gurupriya Bridge which connected it with the rest of the State. The region had long been a stronghold of left-wing extremists.

Motor launches and boats used to be the only mode of communication to reach ferry points and from there people were taking country boat to reach villages. People were even using horses to travel in the remote parts of Swabhiman Anchal.

Chitrakonda MLA Purna Chandra Baka on Friday flagged off a bus of the Odisha State Road Transport Corporation from Chitrakonda to Jodambo, where a new police station started functioning recently.

‘No roads’

“There was earlier no road communication to Swabhiman Anchal. After the Gurupriya Bridge was built in 2018, the area was connected by a road which is still to be completed. We require to build another 35-km-long road stretch to reach the last village of the region. This is the first passenger bus service rolled out in the region after Independence,” said Manish Agarwal, District Collector of Malkangiri.

Situated along Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border, Swabhiman Anchal comprising 151 villages was considered as a liberated zone by the Left ultras.

Even State police was afraid of venturing into the cut-off area. Maoits from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh used to slip into Swabhiman Anchal to take refuge. After security forces established their area domination during the past few years, the situation took a turn for the better. Different development initiatives were taken up. At least, nine roads have been laid in the difficult Ghat areas.

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2020 7:26:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/first-bus-rolls-into-swabhiman-anchal-after-independence/article32047408.ece

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