KORAPUT: The State Government appears to have forgotten the sacrifice of policemen killed in the anti-Naxal operation. The kin of cops who laid down their lives while fighting Maoists in Koraput district are yet to get free homestead land as promised by the Government. As many as 18 police personnel of the district have died in anti-Maoist operation in Koraput since 2004.
Of the 18 beneficiary families, kin of only Balaji Takri have been provided with free Government land at Koraput. Balaji was killed by Maoists at Onkadeli within Machkund police limits on July 7, 2011. Sources said family members of the remaining martyred cops are running from pillar to post to avail the benefit due to delay in processing of files at official level.
In April 2010, the State Revenue and Disaster Management department announced to provide free land to the next of kin of the policemen killed in anti-Naxal operation under the provision of Government Grants Act, 1895. As per provision, the kin of deceased cops are entitled to get either 0.04 acre of land in urban areas or 0.10 acre in rural areas (any one option) except areas under Bhubaneswar Municipality Corporation limits. Subsequently in August 2016, the Government also extended the benefit to personnel of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) belonging to Odisha who died fighting the Naxals anywhere in the country.
Before the Government’s announcement of the free land benefit, three personnel of Koraput police were killed during anti-Maoist operations. One of them was constable Narsingha Nayak who was shot dead by Naxals during the district police armory attack on February 6, 2004. Similarly, another constable Gopal Krishna Bhandi died while defusing a landmine planted by the rebels at Narayanpatna on February 24, 2004. A police driver, Sukanta Kumar Sahu of Sambalpur district, died in a landmine blast during combing operation near Laxmipur on June 18, 2009. Family members of these three cops have approached Revenue officials for the benefit several times in the past but to no avail. The families are also apprehensive that their application will be rejected during scrutiny as the cops were killed before the Government came up with the benefit in 2010.