The Chhattisgarh government has decided to restore as many as 260 government-run schools in four districts of the Naxal-affected Bastar region, which were closed 15 years ago for a variety of reasons, including Maoist violence, authorities said on Monday.
On June 16, when the state government begins observing 'Shala Pravesh Utsav' (school entrance fair), Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel would publicly proclaim the reopening of these institutions, they claimed.
According to an official, 400 government schools in the insurgency-hit parts of the Bastar region have been closed for nearly 15 years due to different reasons, including Maoist violence. According to him, the state administration has agreed to reopen 260 of the 400 schools in Sukma, Narayanpur, Dantewada, and Bijapur districts in response to community demands.
The state government's concentration on developmental operations in strife-torn areas in recent years has forced Naxals to the back foot, he said, adding that the move will assist local children, largely tribals. These districts' collectors have been requested to ensure complete admission and regular attendance of children in primary and pre-primary classes.
Officials have also been asked to guarantee that teachers are appointed when the schools reopen, according to the officials. When the erstwhile anti-Naxal campaign, Salwa Judum, was launched in 2005-06, several schools in the interior districts of the Bastar division were also closed in fear, he claimed. Salwa Judum, an anti-Maoist civic militia in
Chhattisgarh, was abolished in 2011 after a Supreme Court ruling. The Chhattisgarh government restored some closed schools in south Bastar after the Congress was elected to power in the 2018 assembly elections, he claimed, after refurbishing dilapidated school structures and constructing new ones.
Residents in this neighbourhood, particularly students, are ecstatic about the change, and these institutions are seeing a surge in student enrollment, he noted.