Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Poor infrastructure in K'mal escalates conflict

The Pioneer, Oct 8, 2008
Pioneer News Service | Phulbani

The Kandhamal ethno-communal violence seems to have lost some of its force. Ground-level intelligence sources, however, feel that the truce may be a temporary phenomenon.

Thanks to new DGP Manmohan Praharaj's direct initiative - 107 alleged conspirators and instigators, including Hindu and Christian fundamentalists, have been arrested. On Saturday morning, the police apprehended two Christians carrying crude bombs. The VHP has accused the Government of arresting Hindu activists while being soft towards the perpetrators of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati's murder. Long term improvement of the most backward environment of Kandhamal district, the basic cause of conflict, are not being addressed, lamented a former chief administrator of KBK. Though till date Kandhamal has not been included in KBK fold, but situation is more pathetic than KBK, he revealed.

Poor communication is one of the most nagging problems of the district, said an NRO, Sandip K Dasverma. He in a letter to the Chief Minister has detailed out the both physical and cyber connectivity for the district and KBK. After 61 years of Independence, Kandhamal continues to be one of the districts in the country without any railway connectivity. Khurda Road-Kandhamal-Balangir railway line will go a long way to serve the backward zone in a big way. The funding for the Khurda Road-Balangir railway track by the Railway Ministry is woeful. With the present level of funding it will take another half a century to complete the link, alleged Professor Chitta Baral.

Just like Ranchi-Vijayawada Highway intended to counter Maoists, the road connectivity inside the Kandhamal district will go a long way to serve the hapless tribals, he said he.

Equally concerned for the people of Kandhamal, Dhirendra Kar, a pro-active NRO said all the 12 blocks of the district from the district headquarters are ill served by the road network. In an e-mail to the Chief Minister, Kar has also harped on the infrastructure owes of the unrest-hit zone. t is very much difficult to contact people in the interior areas of the district. Internet service is equally dismal and it is non-existent even in the Block Headquarters.

Given such poor infrastructure, the ability of the administration and police to contain the raging frenzy is seriously compromised, said a senior police officer posted at Baliguda.

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