Cover Story: Development in Naxal Land
         Date: 24-Apr-2018

Bastar has started shunning the cruel dictates of red terrorists who deprived the people of even basic amenities for four decades. The huge turnout at the launch of Ayushman Bharat Scheme by Prime Minister on April 14 at Jangla village in Bijapur proves people want development not guns 

 
Savita Sahu giving a ride to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Chhattisgarh CM Dr Raman Singh
in her e-Rickshaw on April 14 
 
Ayati Punem is a Mitanin, a health worker who plays an indispensable role in early detection of health related problems and improving the overall community health. Ignoring all threats she ensured 100 per cent institutional deliveries in 11 remote villages of Bijapur district. Equally, Lalitha Sakni, another Mitanin, who works in the left wing extremism affected remote village, Pusnar, ensured institutional deliveries of 72 of the total 98 live births in the village. Chinni Pongati, another Mitanin, is committed to her duty to the extent that she walks 40 km to take the patients to Kutru PHC. During his visit to Bijapur on April 14, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi met these change agents and applauded their commitment.
 
 
Fighting against all odds, Savita Sahu (28) drives e-Rickshaw in Dantewada and earns about Rs 15,000 per month. She belongs to Chitalanka Village in Dantewada district. She had Prime Minister Shri Modi and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh as passengers in her rickshaw during their visit to Bijapur Development Hub on April 14. The e-Rickshaw, granted to her as part of Danteshwari Scheme, has changed the life of this lady, who was in dilemma as to how to bring up her daughter when her husband deserted her. “I joined a self-help group and learnt driving e-Rickshaw around seven months back. Surely, it was unpleasant to some people around me and many discouraged me. But, I was firm on my decision. The motivation from Prime Minister proves that I am on the right path,” Savita told Organiser at Jangla.
 

The Change Agents

 

Linguram Thakur from Chote Tumnar village and Budhram Kashyap from Talnar village are two role model farmers who are promoting organic farming and preserving different varieties of traditional seeds with the help of local administration. Linguram Thakur has preserved 53 varieties, while Budhram Kashyap has preserved 63 varieties. They have been granted special rights for several varieties under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act 2001. They briefed their work to the Prime Minister during the visit. “If a farm production centre is opened in our district, it will benefit the farmers a lot,” feels Budhram Kashyap, who started this work after the opening of Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Bijapur in 2013. About 1100 farmers are now involved in organic farming through KVK in Bijapur. About 60 farmers have got them registered for preserving the seeds of traditional varieties at Chhote Tumnar village alone. “We will expand this work in entire Bijapur this year,” Linguram Thakur added.

 

 
PM felicitating Ayati Punem in Jangla 

 

The dreams of Jangla youth Suman, Aarati, Govind and others came true with the opening of rural BPO at their village. The Prime Minister visited their BPO and interacted with them.
 
These incidents show that the people of Bastar region, which has been infamous for red terror, are coming out to actively join development process. As the road connectivity, electricity, health facilities and educational opportunities are improving, the people, who were forced to confine to their villages only are now boldly opting for development.
 

How it Happened

 

How this change took place? Ayyaj Tamboli, Collector of Bijapur explains: “We started close interactions with the Village Sarpanchs and Panchayat members. The condition was so pathetic till sometime back that people had to travel 160 km to Jagdalpur for treatment of even the viral fever. Hence, we upgraded District Hospital, equipped it with state of the art facilities, recruited 150 local nurses and other paramedical staff, offered special pay package and facilities to the specialist doctors and recruited them from different parts of the country. It all resulted in the change that the monthly deliveries, which used to be hardly 30 earlier, are now over 150 per month in the District Hospital. In order to ensure better health facilities our Mitanins sit in the Haat Bazars. Through Mitanins, we have reached 94 new villages where earlier nobody dared to reach. Road and electricity are the means, which helped us hugely in changing the mindset of people. The villages, where Naxals used to hold their Darbars have now joined the development process. Annaram village is an example of it. We built road there and provided electricity also. With the building of National Highway (NH) from Lalaguda to Bhopalpattnam, which was pending since 1998, people living in the left wing extremism affected villages started shifting to the roadside areas. The real instruments of change in this region are our employees, who displayed extraordinary commitment.”

 

 

 

“The residential schools known as Eklavya and Prayas have received good response. The experiment of Javanga Educational Hub played a key role in winning the trust of the people. The huge response to the PM’s rally shows that the boycott call by Naxals has no impact,” says Tikeshwar Patel, a local senior journalists. He admits that there is huge decline in the armed cadre of Naxals in recent years. As the number of children studying in Eklavya and Prayas schools increases the control of Naxals will further weaken. Equally, the road, health and electricity infrastructure would win the public trust.
 
 
Karimuddin, a local representative of Univarta in Bijapur recalls how entire Jangla had taken up arms against Naxals during the Salwa Judum and about 25 people sacrificed their lives in the hope that at least their coming generations would live peacefully. “The biggest achievement of Dr Raman Singh government is that it has successfully stopped the third generation joining Naxal movement. This government has developed a hope among the people. That is why they are coming out from the forests and extending support to the government agencies. They have high hopes from the Prime Minister. They find in him a guardian who will take care of them. This visit of the PM will prove to be a game changer in this region. The PM’s visit and the efforts of state government have generated confidence among the locals and they will fight any odd to draw benefits from these schemes. Nobody can stop them now. I have spoken to several people and they say that even if they die, they will ensure bright future for their children,” he added.
 

Schemes Launched by PM

 

  • Launched Health Care and Wellness Centre as first phase of Ayushman Bharat Scheme which ensures Rs five lakh health insurance for a family
  • Launched Dialysis Centre at Bijapur District Hospital
  • Launched Phase-1 of Bastar Net to ensure internet connectivity in remote areas of Bastar, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Sukma, Dantewada and Bijapur
  • Bhoomipujan for 1993 km road, bridges and drinking water supply to Bijapur and Bhairamgarh
  • Foundation stone for building bridges on Indravati and Darbha Rivers
  • Flagged off passenger train between Gudum and Bhanupratappur
  • Launched 15 ATMs and 5 new branches of SBI and provided loans under Mudra and Start up Yojana
  • Visited the stall of Jangla rural BPO, a unique experiment of providing employment to rural youth
  • Visited the stall of Anganwadi Kendra—270 Anganwadi Kendras have been upgraded as model Kendras in Bijapur
  • Visited the stall of Haat Bazar ANM Kendra, started in Bijapur and Dantewada after the successful experiment in Narayanpur
  • Visited the stall of Bijapur Sports Academy, which discovers and nurtures rural talent
  • Visited the stall of integrated farming and Solar Sujla Yojana, which aims at providing 51,000 solar irrigation pumps to farmers by the year 2019
  • Granted benefits to women under Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana, Gas connections under Pradhanmantri Ujjawala Yojna, senior citizens under Rashtriya Vyoshri Yojana, Charan Paduka (slippers and shoes) to Tendu leave collecttors, e-Rickshaws and solar pumps to the farmers

 

 

 Development Hub
 

Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya Development Hub created at Jangla can be a game changer all over the country. In this hub, all necessary services—bank, ATM, health centre, Patwari office, fair price shop, Anganwadi Kendra, etc, needed by villagers in daily life have been provided at one place. This model needs to be adopted at nation level.

 
Addressing the gathering the PM described Bijapur as an inspiration for all the 114 districts which have been identified for massive developmental activities. He applauded the role played by security forces in pushing development in the region. “They are sacrificing their lives for building roads, schools, hospitals etc. I pay my respect to all the security forces,” he said.
 

 
Budhram Kashyap (lfet) and Linguram Thakur (centre) 

 

As expected, Shri Modi touched the hearts of the local people when he started his speech in local Halbi language. Prior to that he deeply touched the hearts when he gotdown to present a pair of slippers to an old lady, Ratnibai, who collects Tendu leaves. Making it clear that he had come to help the people of Bijapur get rid of backwardness, he called upon the youth, misguided by Naxals, to shun violence and join the national mainstream. “There is no need to pick up arms and unleash violence. There is no need to ruin the life this way in the name of Maoism,” he said calling upon their parents to impress upon their children and ask them as to who mislead them. “None of the provocator is local. They all have come from outside and led the youth astray. Surprisingly, none of them dies in the so-called people’s war. It is your sons and daughters whom they use as human shields and compel them to fight a proxy war,” he added.
 
Apart from launching first phase of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, the Prime Minister also launched dozens of projects or laid foundation stones. The inauguration of rail link between Dallirajhara to Bhanupratappur materialised the long awaited dream of farmers, students and commoners. This rail link, once completed, will substantially reduce the 16-hour long journey from Raripur to Jagdalpur to merely six hours.
 
When people think of Bastar, they think of the region in Chhattisgarh which is still in the grip of the red terror. But things on ground have changed in the last several years. Providing a strong development narrative with participatory governance and at the same, targeting the trouble making top leadership of the Maoists is the dual approach that is fetching results in the Maoist affected areas of Central Bharat.