A Fair To Conquer Fear At Naxal Hot-bed

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Giridih: From the night of February 11, the officials of Giridih district administration will add a new chapter to their history, by spending night at the Harladih village, in Pirtand block.

The stay will be of great significance, as for more than three decades naxals or CPI-Maoists ruled from the lowland of Parasnath Hills. Leave aside doing over night duty, the officials were reluctant to be posted there.

Pirtand, connecting Giridih, Dhanbad and Bokaro districts, is the place, where Jharkhand’s naxal movement began in the late 70s.

Post 80s, Pirtand graduated to not only being the focal point of the movement but also to serve as a training centre for the naxalites. It also served as a safe red corridor for the leaders of the banned outfit.

Till recent times, Pirtand Police Station had the least number of first information report (FIR) registered. Despite being one of the oldest blocks in Jharkhand, there has been minuscule development in this area.

In order to initiate a fresh beginning for the villagers of this area officials have clubbed their stay with a fair, called the Garib Kalyan Mela Sah Ratri Vishram (Poor Welfare Fair cum Night Stay). This fair is being organised for 21 villages, belonging to six panchayats. Twenty stalls will be set up by different departments like health, education and agriculture, to name a few, during this fair. Along with a night chaupal, a football match will be organised in the following morning.

“We want to send a message to the people living in these areas that, the administration is available for them, just like for others. Also, that we can go to any extent for them,” elaborated Uma Shankar Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Giridih, while briefing media persons about this stay.

Around 300 officials of district administration will be posted there for 24 hours. The duty of these officials begins from 9 am on February 11 and ends next day, around same time in the morning.

“We have been working on this for few months now. Normally, in such a fair, we opt for on the spot applications, and provide its benefits later. However, in this case, we have already identified most of the beneficiaries. We have plans of accommodating around 550 local youths in government and private jobs,” Singh informed.

However, the biggest challenge for the superintendent of police Akhilesh Variar, who has to conduct everything safely, said, “We have come to know that people of these villages feel that we don’t visit these areas because of the Naxalites. Organising such a fair, is our way of sending across a message that we can go anywhere, anytime.”

On being asked how fruitful will be such an exercise be when many officials do not stay there during their term. The deputy commissioner replied, “From now onwards, we are going to make officials mark their address and send it to Chief Secretary, to start off an inspection, with regards, to officials who don’t stay posted there.”

Last December, the administrative officials of Lohardaga had also stayed overnight at the Panchayat Bhavan. Given that, Giridih is a naxal hot bed, and Harladih, a place where only police have been able to do Long Range Patrolling (LRP). Even the government schemes do not reach there. This initiative will thereby, mark the beginning of a new chapter.

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