Monday, April 19, 2010

Census off in remote villages of Chhattisgarh

April 19th, 2010 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS -

Raipur, April 19 (IANS) Enumerators in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, hit hard by Maoist insurgency, are declining to carry out the census in 108 remote villages — and the authorities are backing them.

“The situation in the forested interior is very alarming. Enumerators don’t want to steps in landmine zone to collect biometric details. I have briefed the state government about a request letter of Dantewada collector that 108 villages be exempted from the census exercise,” Manoj Kumar Pingua, commissioner of Bastar region, told IANS.

Police say interior villages of the region have been intensively mined by the Maoists.

“Dantewada Collector Reena Kangale has sent a letter that census can’t be possible in 108 villages while authorities of Narayanpur district said they are unable to complete the census in the allotted time,” Pingua said.

The refusal to ensure the decennial census in Dantewada comes about a fortnight after 75 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and a policeman were killed by Maoists in Chintalnar forest of the district.

Spread over about 40,000 sq km, the Bastar region is made up of five districts - Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Bastar and Kanker.

Police officials said nearly 1,750 people have been killed in Maoist violence in the Bastar since 2005. They said the government has no presence in some 450 villages of the region since the late 1980s.

Official sources say enumerators are also refusing to step into remote villages of Bijapur, Narayanpur and Kanker districts.

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