Centres delay hits APs projects in Maoist area

HYDERABAD: The Centre’s delay in sanctioning projects under the left wing extremism affected districts scheme has hit the state governments’s strategic plan to control Maoist activities in the state.
Though Andhra Pradesh is highly successful in controlling Maoist activities, it is facing hurdles in getting central government’s approval for projects proposed by it under the centrallysponsored scheme which aims to wean away tribal youth from the Maoist influence.
The Union government has declared eight districts of the state as Maoist- affected. They are Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, Khammam, Warangal, Karimnagar and Adilabad.
The state government is worried over Maoist recruitment drive which is going on in Chhattisgarh bordering Andhra Pradesh and is very keen to provide employment to tribal youth and take up development works in the tribal areas to foil Maoist drive to recruit the tribal youth.
It had prepared proposals worth Rs 3,457 crore to build 26 bridges and take up 138 road works, and sent them for approval in April last year. Though one year has passed, the central government has not sanctioned the works and not released the funds.
According to officials in the roads and buildings department, the proposals are pending before the expenditure committee in New Delhi. After clearance by the committee, the proposals will be placed before the Union cabinet for final approval.
Among the projects is a 2-km-long bridge on the Godavari at Bhadrachalam.
The existing bridge is not able to withstand the growing vehicular traffic. During festivals like Srirama Navami and Vaikuntha Ekadasi the pilgrim influx and the traffic are quite high.
A second bridge would make connectivity to and from Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha hassle-free.