Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking the Centre’s assistance in creating employment opportunities for the youth in the Naxalism-hit areas of the state, an official said on Monday. In the letter, Baghel has made five specific suggestions for development of the Naxalism-hit areas, particularly the Bastar region, to root out Naxalism from the state, and sought the Centre’s cooperation, the public relations department official said in Raipur.
Baghel, who is in the national capital, is scheduled to meet Shah on Tuesday and is expected to discuss various development issues related to Chhattisgarh. He will also meet Dharmendra Pradhan, the Union Minister for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Steel, on Tuesday.
On Monday, the chief minister met his Congress party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to extend his Diwali greetings. In his letter to Shah, Baghel said it is essential to create employment opportunities in these areas so that the unemployed are not forced to join Naxal groups.
“Iron ore is available in abundance in Bastar. If iron ore is provided at 30 per cent discount to steel plants in the region, it will attract investment to the tune of several crore rupees in the sector, thus providing direct and indirect employment opportunities in remote areas," Baghel said in the letter. Grid power supply has not yet reached a large part of the remote areas due to difficult geographical terrains, and the establishment of a large number of solar power plants will help meet energy needs of people and bring about economic development, the CM added.
Baghel said there is a need to give generous grants for setting up food processing units and cold chains in these areas. The official said Baghel sought the Union government’s assistance in the proposed Bodhghat Multipurpose Irrigation Project on the Indravati river in Bastar district.
The chief minister also pointed out that there is no separate financial grant from the Centre to “aspirational" districts, said the official. Seven districts of Bastar region have been identified as “aspirational" districts and at least Rs 50 crore should be given annually to the collector of each of these districts for development purposes, the letter said.
Implementation of these suggestions would help in rooting out Naxalism from Chhattisgarh in the next few years, Baghel said. The chief minister expressed happiness that the Centre planned to send five out of seven additional CRPF battalions, sanctioned for the state in 2018, for deployment in Bastar to fight the menace of Naxalism, the official said.
The chief minister had written to Shah in September seeking deployment of seven CRPF battalions, which were sanctioned for the state in 2018, but had not been dispatched, he said.
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