Friday, June 27, 2008

Bihar polishes its roads to chase Naxals

Press Trust of India
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 (New Delhi)
Police chasing Naxals in Bihar may have better mobility if the Centre accepts the state government's demand for sanction of special funds for strengthening and widening of roads in the affected areas.

With bad roads in Bihar coming in the way of police operations against naxalites, the state's road construction minister Prem Kumar has made a strong demand to the Centre to upgrade some state highways into national highways.

The demand was made by him at a conference of ministers-in-charge of highways here yesterday, a state government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Kumar said widening of two-lane roads would cost about one crore per km and thus the state will need Rs 1150 crores for the purpose.

Naxal violence is on the rise in Bihar and the state witnessed 135 incidents in 2007 leaving 67 persons dead, compared to 107 incidents in 2006 when the casualty figure was 45.

Out of 834 police stations in the state, 71 are affected by Maoist violence, as per latest data available with the Union Home Ministry.

Kumar said 105-km NH-2C (Dehri-Akbarpur-Jagnnathpur- Jardag), 20-km NH-99 (Dobhi to Jharkhand border) and 90-km NH-110 (Biharsharif-Ekangarsarai-Jehanabad-Arwal) have been declared Naxal-affected highways.

He said without special funds road communication could not be improved and suggested taking help from World Bank or Asian Development Bank (ADB). Kumar also demanded that all state capitals should be connected with different cities through an Expressway.

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