Odisha seeks banks in LWE affected areas

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Bhubaneswar, Aug 3 (IANS) The Odisha government on Thursday requested the Centre open banks in the unbanked gram panchayats of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas in the state.

The state government raised the demand while discussing on security and development related issues in the Maoists affected areas with Union Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha through a video conferencing from New Delhi.

Chief Secretary A.P. Padhi informed that in the absence of any bank in about 85 per cent gram panchayats of LWE affected districts, it becomes very difficult to carry forward the schemes aimed at financial inclusion.

The issues relating to electrification of villages, establishment of solar parks, school education, literacy, skill development, promotion of entrepreneurship, financial inclusion, railway projects, tele connectivity, rural development and security matters were reviewed in the meeting.

Focusing on the need for data connectivity in these areas, the Chief Secretary urged the Ministry of Telecommunication to upgrade the existing towers to 3G level.

Padhi further requested the Cabinet Secretary for release of central grant of Rs 280 crore under security related expenditure the accounts of which was already audited and approved.

He also requested for allocation of more funds to the state under solar water pump scheme and solar lantern as these schemes have been very successful and popular among people in LWE areas.

Further, the chief secretary requested for starting the construction work of Jeypore-Malkangiri Railway Line (130 Kms).

Padhi highlighted the need for the project for a backward and large district like Malkangiri.

Notably, the Odisha government signed a MoU with Ministry of Railways in October last year for construction of the project under joint collaboration.

As per the MoU, Odisha was to share 25 per cent of the construction as well as land cost for the project. But East Coast Railways, instead of starting the project work asked for more financial assistance from the state government in June this year.

The state government communicated its inability for further contribution, said sources.

Informing that a total number of 21 girls hostels were sanctioned for Koraput and Maakangiri district, the Chief Secretary said out of this 9 hostels are in finishing stage and the work of balance 12 hotels were in progress.

Padhi apprised the Cabinet Secretary that only 50 per cent of the central grant has been received so far.

He requested for early release of funds for completion of projects.

Cabinet Secretary was also apprised about the 222 residential schools with a total borders of 83,981 being run by ST and SC development department in the districts of Koraput and Malkangiri.

–IANS

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