Hemant Soren on Friday became the first Jharkhand chief minister to visit the “Budha Pahad”, a mountainous terrain spread across the junction of Garhwa and Latehar districts in Jharkhand and Balrampur district in Chhattisgarh which was freed from the Maoist control by security forces last year.

Addressing a gathering of villagers after landing on Burha Pahad, Soren said a series of development projects are being launched for the area that had remained disconnected from the mainstream.

“The state was able to reach into this citadel of the Maoists after the struggle and sacrifice of security forces for around three decades. At a time when the sense of security has returned among people, it becomes imperative that we provide development projects and schemes to boost the basic infrastructure and other facilities in this area, which has remained disconnected from the mainstream,” Soren said, while launching the Budha Pahad Development Project worth 100 crore.

Aimed at integrated development the area, the Budha Pahad Development Project (BPDP) would bring under its ambit 11 villages of Tehri Panchayat of Garhwa and 11 villages of Aksi Panchayat of Latehar to be fully developed.

Majority of these villages are tribal-dominted, with an approximate population of around 12,000, officials said.

“Under BPDP, thrust shall be given for financial independence of the residents, besides providing basic amenities like housing, ration, pension, health, education, safe drinking water. Focus would also be on infrastructure development such as roads, schools, buildings, anganwadi centres and irrigation facilities,” an official said.

Situated around 150 km from the state capital, the Burha Pahad area, on the western margin of Jharkhand sharing borders with Chhattisgarh, was considered an impregnable fortress of the CPI (Mooists), whose top leaders used this terrain as their hideout for over three decades.

Following a joint operation by the Jharkhand Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to clear the area of rebels, Jharkhand police chief Neeraj Sinha had landed at Burha Pahad hilltop on September 18 in a symbolic gesture announcing state’s control over the area.

As part of the ongoing operation, the forces are still setting up forward security camps in the area to establish permanent control.

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