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Odisha’s Swabhiman Anchal gets its first passenger bus

The administration has also neglected Swabhiman Anchal because of Maoist threat.

The administration has also neglected Swabhiman Anchal because of Maoist threat.  

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

The Swabhiman Anchal, which was surrounded by water and an inhospitable terrain, recently gained accessibility after the construction of the Gurupriya Bridge which connected it with 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 transport to reach ferry points, from where people took country boat to reach the villages. People also used horses to travel to remote parts of the region.

Chitrakonda MLA Purna Chandra Baka on Friday flagged off an Odisha State Road Transport Corporation bus from Chitrakonda to Jodambo, where a new police station was set up recently.

“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 need to build another 35-km-long 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 the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border, Swabhiman Anchal, comprising 151 villages, was considered a liberated zone by the Left extremists. Even the State police was afraid of venturing into the Cut-off area. Naxalites from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh often slipped into the region to take refuge.

After security forces established their domination in the region in the past few years, different development initiatives have been taken up. At least nine roads have been laid out in the difficult Ghat areas.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Director General of Police, Abhay, said eleven districts were assessed to be free of Maoist activities in a span of two years. “The progressive fizzling out of the Maoist influence in the State is an indicative of the growing acceptance by the people to the developmental agenda of the State government and their dis-enchantment towards the obsolete Maoist ideology,” said Mr. Abhay.

In April 2018, six districts — Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Gajapati and Ganjam — were declared free from Maoist activities and were removed from the Central government-sponsored Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme. The scheme is meant for capacity building in Maoist-affected districts.

The government recently approved removing five districts— Angul, Boudh, Sambalpur, Deogarh and Nayagarh —from the SRE scheme. With this, only 10 districts in the State are now Maoist-affected. As many as 13 CPI (Maoist) cadres had surrendered before the police in 2019, followed by 17 in 2020.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 9:28:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odishas-swabhiman-anchal-gets-its-first-passenger-bus/article32048116.ece

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