Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Road link in Koraput restored after 12 days

Special Correspondent

Over 170 trees were removed and two trenches filled

NEW DELHI: Road connectivity to Narayanpatna block in Koraput district of Orissa has been restored after 12 days, following a joint operation by State and Central forces.

“Normal traffic has now been restored between Laxmipur and Narayanpatna and essential supplies have started moving in,” a spokesperson of the Home Ministry said here on Sunday.

The area was cut-off by Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), a tribal group which had, with the support of the Maoists, created blockades on the road to Narayanpatna from June 15, making it difficult for the security forces to reach there.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram, during his visit to Orissa, had stressed the need to quickly clear the blocked road in order to re-establish control, the spokesperson said.

A day after his visit, a team of commandos of the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the State Police and a company of the Central Reserve Police Force, moved in with mechanical tree-cutting equipment and heavy earthmovers to clear the road, he said.

A bomb disposal squad and sniffer dogs accompanied them to clear the road of any landmines, the official said.

During the operation, more than 170 trees were removed from the road and two trenches were filled to reopen the 22-km-long road. No landmines were found, nor was there any resistance from the Maoists, the spokesperson said .

The CPI(Maoist)-backed CMAS and its supporters have been involved in several violent incidents in the last six months, especially in the Koraput district.

Because of this, many families in Narayanpatna tehsil of Koraput district had to shift out. Some of them were lodged in relief camps set up by the State government.

The involvement of Maoists became apparent when on June 18 , nine security personnel were killed in a landmine blast while they were clearing the blocked road, the spokesperson said.

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