Target Now To Take Benefits Of Development To The Last Person, Says Raman Singh
Just a few months away from the Assembly elections, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Dr Raman Singh says his effort now would be to ensure maximum utilisation of infrastructure and to take the benefits of social development to the last person.
“We have made major investments in the health and education sectors. Our effort now would be to ensure maximum utilisation of the infrastructure created over the years and to ensure that its benefits of social development reach all,’’ he says.
All set to contest the elections for the fourth successive term, Dr Singh firmly believes that people would appreciate the welfare work done by his government over the years, and vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming elections.
“The kind of development that has been done in tribal-dominated Bastar and Surguja will certainly have a positive impact on the outcome. People are now clear that development is the only way forward,’’ he says in response to the measures taken by his government to reverse the losses suffered by his party in the Bastar region in the 2013 elections. He goes on to explain that Darbha ghati attack near Sukma (that had wiped out the entire Congress leadership in May 2013) did result in people kind of losing faith in the party. Another factor was anti-incumbency since most of the candidates had been MLAs for over 10 years.
Admitting that the new party floated by the former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi has a presence in the central Chhattisgarh, Dr Singh said it could not be ignored and that it had been taken cognisance of though traditionally the fight has been the BJP and Congress.
“But look at the kind of work we have done in the past years. Naxalism is now confined to the hilly regions of Sukma and Bijapur. Even there, they do not have the courage to fight face-to-face with the security forces. They indulge in occasional attacks which makes national news. Otherwise, you will find young girls moving around on their scooty’s in the night in Sukma. The region has become so safe, and the credit for this goes to development and the will of the people who have realised the futility of the movement,’’ the Chief Minister says.
Road connectivity, telecommunication, power, education and health have pushed the naxal supporters back. “You will be surprised to know that the percentage of institutional deliveries in Dantewada district has crossed 90% which is much more than the state average. Over 60,000 students are being taught in porta-cabins which in itself is new model of education launched by the Chhattisgarh government when the naxals started blowing up schools. This was backed by Livelihood Colleges which skills students to earn a livelihood. We are now opening the region to tourism, local agriculture and industry which would give immense job opportunities to the educated local youth,’’ Dr Singh says adding that the government had received local support for all.
One major source of employment would be the NMDC Steel Plant at Naagarnar in Dantewada that should become functional in another 3-4 months. “The 3 MT Steel Plant will change the face of Bastar region. It will do what the Bhilai Steel Plant did to Chhattisgarh and the Bokaro Steel Plant did to Bokaro.’’
Bastar region is now being connected through a rail network from Durg to Jagdalpur via Raoghat. Forty kilometres of the track is already complete. Air service between Raipur and Jagdalpur has also been launched though it is yet to be opened for public.
Dr Singh goes on to say that Chhattisgarh is the only State where the government helps farmers in production by offering free loans; procurement by giving a bonus of Rs 300 and distribution by milling and distributing rice to 55 lakh families. And, now with the new MSP announced by the Prime Minister, farmers stand to gain more, he goes on to explain. All payments are made online and there is complete transparency in the entire process.Similarly, the State government is all set to launch the Ayushman Bharat Health Protection Scheme on August 15 that would cover 37 lakh poor families. This would be in addition to the State’s Universal Health Scheme which covers the entire population. “Every family has a Smart Card for health and they can get themselves treated even at designated private hospitals. ‘’
The State has also focused on women empowerment. Ration cards and houses are registered in the names of the women who also have 50% reservation in the Panchayati Raj Institutions. The latest scheme of distributing 50 lakh smart phones to the people has also focused on women as the beneficiaries are 40 lakh women. “We have not confined women’s empowerment to slogans only. It is a reality in Chhattisgarh.’’
The next big thing in connectivity would be an efficient rail network in Chhattisgarh that would connect Bemetara, Durg, Bhilai and Raipur. “The State has good roads now but we do not think Metro is a good idea at the moment as the population density is low. Metro should have high density as is in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. For Chhattisgarh, an efficient traditional rail network would be more beneficial. We are also keeping in mind the environmental concerns.