Raipur, April 18 (IANS) Chhattisgarh's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government launched a mega drive Wednesday to assess development work in nearly 20,000 villages, but skipped visiting the remote forested areas commanded by the rebels, an official said.
Officials from the rank of village secretary to the rank of the chief secretary and the chief minister will visit the rural areas from April 18 to April 27 in two phases - to interact with residents at their doorstep and ascertain the status of government's development schemes and welfare projects.
Official sources say that the team constituted in all the 27 districts visited rural areas Wednesday to collect version of villagers in a prescribed lengthy questionnaire about government schemes.
However, the officials skipped visiting jungles areas of seven districts in troubled Bastar region, besides Rajnandgaon in western region of the state where Maoists run a parallel government since late 1980s.
Maoists in Chhattisgarh's sprawling mineral rich Bastar region, which is spread out in about 40,000 sq km areas, have asked people to boycott the drive calling it a 'pure drama' to fool people, who are deprived of basic civic facilities such as drinking water, road, education and health facilities.
Officials here at police headquarters have advised legislators and officials to not venture in the Maoist stronghold areas without security.
The unwritten advice has been passed in backdrop of a recent abduction of a legislator of neighbouring Orissa state's ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), still in rebels' captivity.
The opposition Congress also hit out on BJP regime Wednesday calling it a "meaningless highly extravagant drive".
This is the seventh year in succession that the BJP government is holding the ambitious 'Gram Suraj' drive to reach out to common people.
The state government claims that the drive in the past has helped it to collect vital feedback from residents living in under-developed pockets, and that these inspired it to rehash rural schemes and strengthen its implementation mechanism at village level.
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