At least 15 villages of the insurgency-affected Dantewada district of Bastar division in Chhattisgarh were declared ‘Naxal-free’ on August 15. This is the first time that the villages falling under the disturbed area of the Red Zone have become completely ‘Green Zone’ — free from all forms of Naxal activities or frontal organisations.
Villages under the survey will be colour coded as ‘Red’, ‘Yellow’ and ‘Green’. ‘Green’ villages will be among the first villages to generate Aadhaar card, Ayushman card and ration card.
In Dantewada, a comprehensive survey was conducted to mark the areas of ‘Red’ - most Maoist affected, ‘Orange’ - moderately affected and ‘Green’ - not affected.
Dantewada SP Abhishek Pallav said that on this Independence Day, these 15 villages celebrated ‘freedom from Naxalites’.
He said that the ‘Lone Varattu’ surrender campaign (Ghar Wapsi) has encouraged more than 403 Maoists to join the mainstream in the last two years and it has played a vital role in eliminating Maoists from different parts of the Dantewada district.
The villages which were declared as Maoist-free are: Hitameta and Hidpal in Barsur, Bade Surokhi, Bade Tamnar in Geedam, Dhurli, Masenar, Gamwada, Bade Kameli in Bhansi, Chandenar, Phulnar, Kupar, Kanvalnar, Dumam, Gadmiri in Dantewada, Kuakonda and Keshapur in Faraspal.
In January 2021, the Dantewada police conducted a panchayat-wise survey across the district to determine the status of villages with Maoist influence. The survey was repeated after a gap of six months in July 2021.
A 10-point questionnaire was sent to the villages and respondents included residents of government officials, such as health workers, school teachers, food and civil supplies department officials, village and panchayat officers.
The positive response to some specified questions resulted in the village being designated as ‘red’ or ‘highly sensitive’, while the remaining villages were designated as ‘green’ (normal) or ‘yellow’, meaning a place where Maoist influence is decreasing.
There are ten parameters of assessment relating to the number of Maoist attacks, their visits to villages, the number of meetings, the presence of frontal organisations like Bal Sangham, Chetna Natya Manch etc. if police in uniform can visit villages and so on. In January, police teams began surveying 149 gram panchayats in the district.
For the first time, such an intensive survey was conducted and several re-evaluations were done, after which it was found that 15 gram panchayats have been changed from orange to green zones.
“The impact of the detailed survey is such that panchayats are approaching the police to inform their villages that they are now ‘green zones’. Of the 149 gram panchayats surveyed initially, 74 were found to be green, 42 orange and 33 red zones. When a fresh survey was conducted in 42 gram panchayats, 15 villages were declared as green zones
With the announcement, the district administration will initiate proactive interventions in these villages to actively work towards promoting development activities in these areas.