DANTEWADA (CHHATTISGARH): The country’s first township dedicated to surrendered Naxals and the victims of Naxal violence is being constructed in Dantewada’s district of Chhattisgarh.

As per Abhishek Pallav, Superintendent of Police (SP) Dantewada, the township being built by the surrendered Naxals themselves.

It will have facilities like a skill development Centre that will help the victims and the former Naxals to be self-dependent.

Pallav said that residents of the township will be given training in different fields like electric work, repairing, scientific farming and cattle rearing to help them generate employment in their villages.

“We launched ‘Lon Varatu’ campaign that means ‘homecoming’ a year ago. Within a year, 381 Naxals, out of which 101 were wanted Naxals, have surrendered,” he said.

Pallav informed that according to feedback taken after a year of the campaign, the government realised that only 32 surrendered Naxals had an Aadhaar card or a bank account and others could not avail the benefits of any scheme launched by the government because of this.

“We then launched ‘Lon Varatu Campaign 2’ under which 250 Naxals have been issued Aadhaar cards. We have opened bank accounts for them and they will be able to avail benefits of 12 government schemes now,” he added.

Pallav said that some beneficiaries had been assaulted by Naxals and were scared to stay in their villages.

“They expressed their desire to live in Dantewada. So we decided to make a township completely dedicated to former Naxals and the victims of Naxal incidents,” he said.

According to Pallav, the township will have 108 one-room sets and 20 shops catering to different needs for which the former Naxals would be trained according to their interests.

“The township will have all the facilities from health care centre to a child care centre. It will be like a rural rehabilitation centre where the residents will be provided security and employment. It will also have a transit hostel of 20 rooms where villagers assaulted by Naxals can live temporarily,” he stated.

“The best part about this campaign is that the Naxals who were earlier involved in destruction are now employed in constructing this township for themselves. I hope that they serve as an example for other Naxals like Telugu Naxals. And I believe that many Naxals will surrender in the future,” he added.

Meanwhile, the former Naxals engaged in constructing the township expressed happiness over the development.

“I worked for a Naxal organisation for five years. These flats are being constructed for us and all the facilities are available here. Earlier we had to work according to the orders of the Naxal commander and destroy things. But after surrendering, we are getting employment and a place to live,” said former Naxal Rakesh Kumar.

Kumar further stated that his life is stable now and he wants fellow Naxals to surrender and avail the benefits given by the government.

Another former Naxal Dev Singh said that his earlier life was insufferable.

“We are getting our own quarters here. We were also issued a ration card. Our families were yearning to see us. They are happy now,” he stated. Singh was a Naxal Commander in the Darbha division.