Hemant Soren on Friday became the first Jharkhand chief minister to visit the ‘Budha Pahad’ – a former Maoist hotbed – situated near the border with Chhattisgarh, where he launched a development project worth Rs 100 crore, officials said.
Soren arrived at the hilltop a little after noon, where the CRPF has now set up a camp, they said.
The Rs 100-crore Budha Pahar Development Project (BPDP) will cover 11 villages of Tehri panchayat in Garhwa and 11 villages of Aksi panchayat in Latehar, the officials said.
“If need be, this amount can be increased to Rs 500 crore,” Soren said.
During the last three months, benefits of schemes worth over Rs 4 crore have been provided to villagers in the area, a senior official said.
“After it was freed from Maoists, the government launched the ‘Aapki Yojana, Aapki Sarkar, Aapke Dwar’- an outreach programme at Khapri Mahua village to ensure the benefits of welfare schemes can be availed by people there,” he said.
Soren was accompanied by Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh and Director General of Police Neeraj Sinha, among other top officials.
‘Budha Pahar’, located along the Latehar and Garhwa districts, around 150 km from state capital Ranchi, was freed from the red rebels’ control by security forces after over three decades.
The exercise was carried out through three special operations that were launched since the beginning of April 2022.
A total of 14 Maoists were killed, while 590 others were either apprehended or had surrendered during these operations, the officials said.
Earlier attempts to drive out the red rebels from ‘Budha Pahad’ did not materialise due to its difficult terrain, they said.
“Several security personnel and civilians have lost their lives in the area over the years due to Maoist activities,” the DGP said.
There will be a permanent camp of the security forces at ‘Budha Pahar’, added another top police officer.
-With PTI Input