Chhattisgarh tops in RuRBAN Mission
Chhattisgarh, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the RuRBAN Mission in Rajnandgaon district in February 2016, has emerged as the best performing state with regard to the Mission. For the government of a state going to the polls next year, it is nothing less than a big shot in the arm.
The Mission aims to preserve and nurture the essence of rural community life with a focus on equity and inclusiveness, without compromising on facilities perceived to be essentially urban in nature. Rurban is aimed at creating village clusters, or Rurban villages, to minimise migration from villages to cities through skill development programmes.
Sadhu demands fee for sermons
Umeshdas Nirmohi, a Naga sadhu of the Nirmohi sect keen to give religious sermons for nine days in all central jails in Chhattisgarh, initially got approval from the jail authorities. But the sadhu sprang a surprise by demanding a big amount in return for his religious sermons.
The police rejected his imposition, saying that the jail department did not have funds for organising religious events. The sadhu then wrote to Chief Minister Raman Singh, making the same proposal. He sought `2.50 lakh for each sermon and at least `1 lakh in advance, explaining that a team of eight to ten people accompanies him, including five stage performers.
5.5 mn smartphones to reduce digital divide
The Chhattisgarh government’s plan to distribute 5.5 million smartphones through ration shops, panchayat bhawans and other places under the Sanchar Kranti Yojana is under way. The scheme, which will cost `230 core, is aimed at narrowing the digital divide and will be implemented in two phases during 2017-19. To ensure transparency in the process, the names of the beneficiaries will be made public.
District collectors have been given the responsibility of distributing the phones. The panchayat and rural development departments will initially select the beneficiaries in rural areas, while the urban development department will list the eligible people in the urban areas. Free phones will be given to the youth in all rural households, urban poor families, and colleges.
End to Maoist menace by 2022
Seventeen years after Chhattisgarh was formed, the state has declared that it will eliminate Maoists in its territory in 2022. While the security forces are aggressive against the rebels, the state is taking a cue from its “success” in making north Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja range free from Maoists. State home minister Ram Sewak Paikra, who announced the 2022 deadline, knows best what strategy the state has to flush out the outlawed CPI (Maoist) five years from now from south Chhattisgarh’s conflict zone of Bastar, an area bigger than the state of Kerala.
For more than three decades, Bastar has been referred to as a safe haven for the rebels. As for the Maoist presence in other districts of the state, the minister is quick to explain that the Naxalites move to other areas under pressure from the security forces. Maoists are present in 16 of the 27 districts in Chhattisgarh.
Our correspondent in Chhattisgarh