Top Chhattisgarh bureaucrat visits Maoist-hit Bastar

Raipur, Feb 20 (IANS) Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary P. Joy Oommen made a surprise visit to the Maoist-hit Bastar region and promised to develop the troubled rural hinterland in the state.

Oommen Friday visited the violence-hit districts of Bijapur and Dantewada and held talks with school students. Bijapur and Dantewada along with Bastar, Narayanpur and Kanker districts form the 40,000 sq km mineral rich Bastar region, considered the nerve centre of Maoist militancy in India.

The chief secretary also visited a camp of the anti-Maoist Salwa Judum militia and announced that the state government was committed to speed up development and infrastructure build-up in the region.

An official said Oommen held detailed talk with school students of Reddy village in Bijapur district and travelled to a camp, Kasholi, in Dantewada district.

Oommen, who presided over a meeting of senior officials at Bijapur, instructed them to speed up development process as it is the only way to counter Maoist militancy. He announced several infrastructure schemes worth Rs.20 crore for the district.

The Bastar region has witnessed over 1,500 casualties in Maoist violence since 2005.

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