The Chhattisgarh Govt too has blood on its hands in the massacre of 25 CRPF jawans at Sukma as it sat on a crucial report for over three years.
Had the Chhattiagarh Government been more responsive and less lethargic, the massacre of 25 jawans of the CRPF at Sukma would not have taken place. The BJP led government sat on a crucial report submitted by the CRPF three years ago to adopt a new technology that would cut time taken to construct a 1-km road stretch to just around two days.
A top CRPF officer was quoted in The Indian Express as saying that he had repeatedly raised “the terribly slow pace of road construction” with the Chhattisgarh government. But they did absolutely nothing and allowed the jawans to be sitting ducks.
The CRPF is primarily meant for hunting down insurgents in the area. But for the past few years, the jawans were guarding and protecting road construction. What worried the CRPF was that the road work was going at a very slow pace and the Maoists knew of all the troop movements.
The road construction in such a critical area was given to small time contractors who did not have the expertise or technology to complete the project on time.
When the work was dragging on, a worried and alarmed CRPF sent a proposal to the Chhattisgarh Government asking it to adopt a new technology that would cut time taken to construct a 1-km road stretch to just around two days. That was three years ago.
For some inexplicable reason, the Chhattisgarh Government allowed the proposal to gather dust. Had they accepted the report, the road would have been completed a year ago and the CRPF jawans would have been free to do their original job of hunting down the outlawed Maoists.
D P Upadhyaya, DIG (Operations) CRPF, was quoted in The Indian Express as saying: “One of the primary things I have raised repeatedly with the state government is the terribly slow pace of road construction. Instead of being in the forests conducting operations, our manpower is constantly protecting infrastructure development. That is our duty, but this Dornapal-Jagargunda road has been under construction for years, and the pace of work is slow.”
“One patch of road has several contractors making different stretches, and they have little technology and investment. Roads take ages to make and, in that period, our men are sitting ducks. In operations, we make the narrative. But while securing a road, there is very little flexibility in positions and we are always under threat,” an officer told The Indian Express.
The BJP led government at the Centre under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known to take swift decisions. The PMO does not brook any delay. But that has obviously not percolated to the BJP led government in Chhattisgarh. Had Modi been in place of Chief Minister Raman Singh, the road would have been operational long ago and the jawans would not have been sitting ducks for the Maoists.
The Chhattisgarh Government must answer as to why it allowed the CRPF report on the need to adopt technology and speed up road construction gather dust.
Till then, the Chhattisgarh Government will have the blood of 25 CRPF jawans on its hands.