The lockdown had slowed down the work of road construction in Maoist-infested pockets of Chhattisgarh.
The state government had taken up a number of projects in the area, of which the road between Koleng and Netanaar was strategically most important. This is because the road would lead to the core of Tulsi Dongri village that happens to be Maoists’ liberated zone.
The once strong influence in Koleng that Maoists had gradually subsided following the movement of security forces. But Tulsi Dongri remains a challenge for security personnel. It is still a stronghold of Maoists and has been their operational centre.
Security forces had taken up the 35-km road project on a war footing, expediting it on top priority. At least three camps of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had been set up on the stretch to facilitate a thick security blanket to the workers engaged in its construction.
Despite that, the Maoists had been trying to create hurdles to stop the project. They had burnt the vehicles engaged in the work. Ironically, what the rebels failed to do, the lockdown had done.
Following the lockdown, the contractor could not get labourers, who failed to return from their native villages, which they had visited during the Holi festival. The authorities have not given up and have resumed the work with limited manpower at the command.
“We lost two crucial months during the lockdown,” Inspector General of Police (Bastar) P Sunderraj told Business Standard. “But we would try to cover up the construction work during the forthcoming season.”
Over 50 per cent of the work had been completed and the target was to complete the project by the end of the year.