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How Maoist hotbed called 'cut-off area' in Odisha got back on the map

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Malkangiri, Dec 13: Odisha's remote 'Swabhiman Anchal', the hotbed of Maoists in the state for the first time, saw the Tricolour hoisted in Gorasetu under Panasput panchayat of Swabhiman Anchal with the establishment of a Border Security Force (BSF) camp.

How maoist hotbed called cut-off area in Odisha got back on the map

Earlier in the past, black flags were hoisted by Maoists in the area as security personnel could not venture into the village.

It should be noted that the red ultra-dominated Swabhiman Anchal has been in news for all good reasons in the recent past.

The flag that morning in Gurasethu was just one of several recent indicators that the area is slowly being reclaimed by the Odisha state government.

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The long-awaited dreams of 40 villages in Malkangiri's Swabhiman Anchal, came true after the people in the area got access to mobile network connectivity to stay in touch with near and dear ones.

Malkangiri has been one of the most violence-hit districts in the country with as many as 332 Maoist incidents recorded in 12 years between 2008 and 2020.

The security personnel have also set up at least seven BSF Company Operative Base (COB) in the Swabiman Anchal. It may be noted that Gurasetu and Panasput were considered as the safe fort of red rebels mostly operating in the Odisha and Andhra Pradesh border. With the COB coming up, anti-Maoist operations is expected to get a further boost and security of the people can be better ensured.

'Tribals in cut-off area'

The Odisha government has re-named the Cut-Off area encircled by water in the three sides and dense forest on another connecting to Andhra Pradesh, as Swabhiman Anchal. The renaming was made after the areas were by a bridge over Gurupriya river, which now helped the police to set up more camps in the Maoist den.

The cut-off area under Chitrakonda block of Malkangiri, which is encircled by the Balimela reservoir from three sides and has a dense forest connecting Andhra Pradesh on another side, was considered as a den of Maoists ever since they spread their network in the mid 1990s.

In a bid to end the Maoist influence in the area, the Odisha DGP Abhay said roads, telecommunication towers, schools, health centres and anganwadi centres are being developed in Swabiman Anchal.

Admitting that the Maoists are the major hurdles before development in the cut-off area, the DGP said efforts are on to ensure that the local residents get all sorts of facilities like health, education and livelihood.

The area got its first road connectivity two years ago, when Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the Gurupriya Bridge and declared the region as 'Swabhiman Anchal'.

For the provision of drinking water, the government has started work on a mega pipe water supply project worth Rs 20 crore and 250 tube well works have been completed in the area.

For healthcare, 82 Anganwadi centres and health sub-centres will soon be up and ready, Patnaik said.

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