Swabhimaan Anchal: From Maoist stronghold to peaceful retreat | Bhubaneswar News

KORAPUT: Over 350 inmates of girl’s high school at the educational complex of Badapada in Swabhimaan Anchal had a pleasant surprise on Tuesday night as they had their dinner with state government’s 5T secretary V K Pandian, who was on a two-day visit to the district to review the development activities, and other top state and district officials.
The 5T secretary, who reached the educational complex at around 8pm, interacted with the students about the facilities at the complex and collected their suggestions for its improvement during his 90 minutes stay at the hostel.
“We were ecstatic to have our dinner with the 5T secretary about whom we had heard a lot and had seen on TV and newspaper. He inquired about the facilities that we are given at the hostel, the quality of food that is served at the hostel and the quality of education among others. He has assured us to add more facilities at the school in the coming days,” Mamata Khillo, a Class VIII student, said.
According to the student, the secretary had dalma and rice with the students and advised them to read well and to be good human being in life.
With classes from I to X, the school is being run by the state’s SC and ST development departments.
Pandian was accompanied by development commissioner Anu Garg, commissioner-cum-Secretary, sports & youth services, R Vineel Krishna, the former collector of Malkangiri to whom the Maoists had kidnapped in 2011 from Badapada, DIG (south-western range) Rajesh Pandit, collector (Malkangiri) Vishal Singh and SP (Malkangiri) Nitesh Wadhwani among others.
The visit of the Pandian along with top officials to Swabhimaan Anchal and spending the night at Badapada assumes significance as Swabhiman Anchal is surrounded by the Balimela reservoir from three sides and borders to AP, the Maoists had converted the area, comprising 151 villages with over 20,000 populations, as their liberated zone. Waterway was the only mode of communication to reach the place. The remoteness of the area goes back to the mid-60s when vast tracts of land were submerged for the construction of Balimela reservoir.
However, the construction of the 910-meter-long Gurupriya Bridge in July 2018 and the deployment of security forces have led to development activities to penetrate the region.
Later on his second day of visit on Wednesday, the 5T secretary reviewed various development works at Malkangiri, Kalimela and Motu areas of the district and urged the officials concerned for the timely completion of the ongoing projects.
While reviewing the construction work of the airstrip, its terminal building and the guesthouse at Kotelguda, Pandian urged the officials to ensure the functionality of the airstrip by January 2024.
During his visit to Manyamkonda, the 5T secretary visited the cave of Lord Kanamraj, Balaraj, Potraj and Maa Mutyalama, where the Bada Yatra is celebrated every two years. Since lakhs of pilgrims from the bordering states of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh throng the place, he directed to submit the proposal for further development of the cave and its surroundings.
He also directed to submit a plan of action for the development of Mugi Point at Motu, the tri-junction of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

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