Naxal stronghold Jeeram Ghati in Bastar moves from fear to hope

Jeeram Ghati (Bastar, Chhattisgarh), May 30: It has been three years since the horrific attacks on Congress leaders in Jeeram Ghati of Chhattisgarh’s Bastar District, which led to the death of Congress leader V.C. Shukla and others, and in the years that have passed since, Jeeram Ghati has moved from a Naxal-infested area to one where connectivity, roads and security is now evident.

K. R Kar, the Chief Executive Officer of Darbha, said Jeeram village comes under the Kangapal Panchayat, adding that the authorities here have been constructing homes under the Indira Awaas Yojana.

“We are in the process of constructing 74 toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission. The Anganwadi Kendra in the village is active and the construction of houses would be over within next 45 days,” said Kar.

“The Jeeram village lies on a barren land. So, we are in the process of implementing land reforms in the village under MNREGA,” he added.

The senior officer further said, “The process of development has made the area push out the Naxals. In fact, those who were involved in the Naxal movement, are now working on developmental projects”.

The Chief Executive Officer of Darbha further said that he visits the village on a regular basis to ensure that basic facilities, including water and electricity reach every doorstep.

“The solar plates have been distributed and the solar pumps will also be installed for water facility,” he added.

Development has replaced the fear that manifested in the minds of the people in the aftermath of the May 25, 2013 Naxal attack, with basic necessities reaching every doorstep.

This region, once under the control of the Naxals, is now reaping the benefits of development, which is being carried out at a rapid pace.

“A school has been constructed and the children now get a good education. The deployment of the military has improved the situation. Roads have been constructed. We are no longer facing an acute crisis of water,” said an inhabitant of the area.

Recalling the previous situation, another resident told ANI, “Three years ago, there was a complete sense of fear. Now, there is no more fear. All those who had left the village earlier are now returning.”

Another inhabitant said there has been a significant and noteworthy change over the last three years.

“A lot of things have changed here. Earlier, there was no road, no school building. Development began here after the deployment of the armed forces,” he added.

An elderly person said earlier children were forced to move outside the village to study, but now they do not have to travel, as the administration has built a school in the village.

“The deployment of the forces has benefitted us. They interact with us, they tell good things and often help the people in the area,” he added.

Manish Arya, a businessman, said there has been a remarkable change in Jeeram Ghati in the last three years and the once deprived villagers are availing the benefits.

“The roads have been constructed in the area and basic facilities, including water, electricity, health care and schools have improved,” Arya said.

“The administration has in particular focused on infrastructure post the 2013 incident. The local business now seems to be prospering,” he added.

A woman in her late thirties, however, said there is still a lot of scope for development.

“There are still some areas, which need to be developed. We can’t say there have been no changes as we have indeed witnessed some ground work,” she added.

On 25 May 2013, heavily-armed Maoists had attacked a convoy of the Congress leaders in Darbha Valley in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district.

The attack claimed the lives of 27 people, including former state minister Mahendra Karma and Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel. Senior Congress leader and former union minister Vidya Charan Shukla, who was also severely injured in the attack, succumbed to his injuries on June 11, 2013.