On his first visit to Narayanpur district as the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Bhupesh Baghel on Saturday announced Rs 9 lakh each for construction and development of devagudis — sacred groves in tribal villages — in all 104 gram panchayats in the district, besides inaugurating developmental works of over Rs 84 crore.
More than 70 per cent of the district’s population consists of Scheduled Tribes. Baghel’s visit comes in the wake of protests by tribals in the Maoist-affected district over demands to stop mining activity and shut down police camps near areas where mining is taking place.
Addressing a gathering on Saturday, Baghel said the government is devoted to conserving and promoting tribal customs and traditions. “All 104 gram panchayats in the district will have well developed devagudis. Work of Rs 9 lakh each would begin soon,” he said.
The Chief Minister also announced 100 ghotuls, or community areas for young tribals, would be built in the district. “People from across the country and abroad come to visit the ghotul so we want to make 100 of them at least… Even if the ghotul structures are built differently, they should be decorated as per custom,” he said.
Baghel also announced widening of the Narayanpur Antagarh state highway and developmental work in the district headquarters. He also inaugurated several other projects like anganwadis and health centres in the district.
Baghel announced that benefits under the Rajiv Gandhi Nyay Yojana would soon be extended to koddo and kutki (types of millets) producers too. “We have increased the number of minimal forest produce procured by the state. We are working against malnutrition and are also working in providing more and more support to rural areas,” he said.