ANDHRA PRADESH

Tribals see progress, naxals lose grip

ADILABAD, MARCH 17. For the armed bands of naxalites, movement in interior villages is becoming difficult by the day. Thanks to the increasing number of roads connecting sensitive villages, more remote areas are being exposed progressively.

A number of proposals awaiting sanction for laying of roads linking interior villages in Adilabad district is indicative of the change in the perception of tribals about their own good. At all the `grama darshini' meetings in remote villages conducted jointly by revenue and police authorities among others, there is a great emphasis on laying of roads.

As a result, proposals for over 175 roads of varying lengths linking remotest of the villages have materialised. The proposals have been sent under the Backward Districts Initiative (BDI), the new name for ushering development in backward areas.

The Police Department, more than others, looks forward to the early completion of these roads, and it has good reason for it. The Adilabad Additional Superintendent of Police (Operations), A. Sattar Khan, explains: "The concept is to connect core villages to fringe villages and one fringe village to another. It improves accessibility within the given area while establishing a link with outside areas".

In naxal strongholds

Thrust has been laid on improvement of roads in naxal strongholds like the Mangi and Jodeghat forests.

The mandals of Tiryani, Sirpur (U), Asifabad, Dandepalli and Kasipet are covered by these forests.

The growing importance of roads in the tribal ethos can be specified by the example of the 18-km Manikyapur-Mangi road in Tiryani. Maoists who opposed laying of this road for long, relented in the face of a determined demand from local tribals.

The road was finally inaugurated on September 5, 2004, by the Labour Minister, G. Vinod. The Mandamarri CI, Md. Tajuddin, is more than happy on the development.

Says he: "Look at the kind of openings the tribals have now. An auxiliary nurse and midwife (ANM) can now attend on patients in these remote villages. Rigs for sinking borewells can travel up to the desired points. The naxalite influence has decreased because of the road. The dalam members think twice before seeking shelter in these villages."

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