A Saranda rest house. Telegraph picture
Ranchi, May 26: Work on setting up six out of 24 CRPF camps in Saranda will begin next month at strategic locations inside the forest in West Singhbhum to create a security blanket for carrying out development projects in the erstwhile Maoist den.
The state government has so far failed to kick-start the project to set up the camps due to delay in securing mandatory forest clearances, drawing flak from Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh — the architect of Saranda Development Plan.
But CRPF deputy inspector-general (DIG) Bhanu Pratap Singh confirmed that work would finally begin June 1 onwards to pitch six camps, all of which would come up in core areas of the sal reserve.
Initially, pre-fabricated materials would be used for the temporary camps, while Jharkhand State Police Housing Corporation would later set up permanent concrete structures, Singh told The Telegraph.
“To start with, the camps will come up in six places, followed by more in the near future. We have already mobilised forces in the areas where the camps would be made. But we cannot disclose the exact locations at this juncture,” said the CRPF DIG, who is in charge of Chaibasa operational area.
The 24 camps (17 for CRPF and 7 India Reserve Battalion) are a prerequisite for providing security cover for development projects started by the West Singhbhum district administration and the state government under the Rs 250-crore Saranda Development Plan.
The Union minister had also wished to inaugurate one out of 13 reinforced cement concrete roads, under the action plan, in the near future.
The CRPF DIG added that two additional battalions of paramilitary troopers, who were brought in from Jammu & Kashmir and recently trained at Police Training Centre in Padma (Hazaribagh) and the jungle warfare school in Netarhat, had joined the troopers in West Singhbhum.
At present, CRPF has base camps in Kiriburu, Chakradharpur, Karampada, Manoharpur, Jeraikela and Anantpur in West Singhbum.
However, the Saranda Development Plan, which was launched in December last year, has not made much progress barring construction of roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana.
Under the action plan, the state also aims to build an integrated development centre at Digha along the Jharkhand-Orissa border and provide electricity to a majority of the 56 villages in Saranda.
The CRPF and state police purged Saranda — the erstwhile headquarters of the Maoists’ eastern regional bureau once considered out of bounds for government officials — of rebels following a joint operation last year.