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20100629

Colleges to come up in Maoist strongholds

The Chhattisgarh government has approved setting up of polytechnic colleges, or technical institutes, in Dantewada and Bijapur districts of the state that are known to be the nerve centres of Maoist rebels. The government will set up a 240-seat college at Dantewada town to teach mechanical, electrical, and electronics engineering and computer science subjects, a technical education department official told media. He said the building for the college has already been identified and the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), India's largest iron ore mining company in public sector, has agreed to fund Rs.10 crore for the plan. A college will come up at Bijapur town with 30 seats each in civil, mechanical and electrical streams. The official added that the basic purpose to open polytechnic colleges in the two worst Maoist-violence hit districts is to offer technical courses to local tribal youths who mostly join the rebel ranks because of lack of education and employment opportunities. Bijapur and Dantewada along with Kanker, Bastar and Narayanpur districts form the impoverished Bastar region, which has been the hotbed of Maoist activities for over two decades. Police officials say the region has witnessed nearly 1,750 fatalities in Maoist violence since 2005.

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