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Road link on Delhi agenda

Ranchi, Feb. 15: Pending road projects in Naxalite-hit areas of Jharkhand and rebels blowing up mobile towers to disrupt communication in rural areas will top the agenda when officials from Ranchi speak out at a meeting convened by the Union ministry of home affairs in Delhi on February 18.

The meeting, to be chaired by Union home secretary R.K.Singh, is likely to be attended by governor’s adviser K.Vijay Kumar, a former DG of the CRPF, while chief secretary S.K. Choudhary and DGP G.S. Rath will accompany him.

These issues were discussed at length during the recent visit of a team of Union government officials led by cabinet secretary A.K. Seth.

As many as 10 road schemes, all aimed to provide better connectivity in rural areas dominated by the Maoists, are pending in Jharkhand since the last couple of years. A majority of them are in Palamau district, while a few others are in Lohardaga and other districts.

State road construction department officials conceded they had not been able to find contractors to execute the projects in the hinterlands. Funds for these projects have been sanctioned by the MHA.

Besides, work on revamping national highways is also going on slowly with Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh pointing out that the condition of NH-75 (Ranchi-Daltonganj-Garhwa road) was “extremely bad”.

This despite the fact that the work to fix the road had been awarded to an agency which was supposed to have completed its job by now. But so far, less than 50 per cent work is complete with contractors pointing to “unfavourable working conditions”.

The Delhi meeting is also supposed to be attended by officials of Union ministry of road transport and highways and BSNL, who will attend to discuss regular instances of mobile towers in rural areas being set on fire by rebels.

Besides Jharkhand, the Delhi meeting will also conduct reviews on similar issues facing other Naxalite-infested states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Bengal.

CRPF posting

Inspector general of CRPF D.K. Pandey, who is now serving in the central sector at Lucknow, has been repatriated to Jharkhand. Pandey has served as inspector-general of police (operations) in Jharkhand and successfully conducted several operations under his leadership.

According to high-level sources, he expected to return to Jharkhand on February 18.