Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking the Centre's assistance in creating employment opportunities in Naxal-hit areas of the state, an official said on Monday.
In the letter, Baghel has made five suggestions and sought the Centre's cooperation in its implementation in Naxal-hit areas, particularly in Bastar region, the public relations department official said on Monday.
Baghel said it is essential to create employment opportunities in these areas so that the unemployed are not forced to join Naxal groups, he said.
"Iron ore is available in abundance in Bastar. If iron ore is provided at 30 per cent discount to steel plants in the region, it will attract investment to the tune of several crore rupees in the sector, thus providing direct and indirect employment opportunities in remote areas," Baghel said in the letter.
Grid power supply has not yet reached a large part of the remote areas, due to difficult geographical terrains, and the establishment of a large number of solar power plants will help meet energy needs of people and bring about economic development, the CM added in the letter.
Baghel said there is a need to give generous grants for setting up processing units and cold chains in these areas.
The official said Baghel sought the Union government's assistance in the proposed Bodhghat Multipurpose Irrigation Project on Indravati river in Bastar district.
The CM also pointed out there is no separate financial grant from the Centre to 'aspirational districts', said the official.
Seven districts of Bastar region have been identified as aspirational districts and at least Rs 50 crore should be given annually to the collector of each of these districts for development purposes, the letter said.
Implementation of these suggestions would help in rooting out Naxalism from Chhattisgarh in the next few years, Baghel said.
The CM expressed happiness that the Centre planned to send five out of seven additional CRPF battalions, sanctioned for the state in 2018, for deployment in Bastar to fight the Naxal menace, the official said.
The chief minister had written to Shah in September seeking deployment of seven CRPF battalions, which were sanctioned for the state in 2018, but had not been dispatched, he said.