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Resume launch services in Balimela, Congress asks govt

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Bhubaneswar, Aug 24

The opposition Congress in Odisha on Saturday asked the state government to take note of the problems faced by people living in areas cut off from rest of the state in Malkangiri district as launch services in Balimela reservoir was stopped in view of Maoist threat.

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The issue was raised in the House by Leader of the Opposition, Bhupinder Singh, who said people were facing a lot of problems due to the halt of launch services.

Launch services in Balimela reservoir came to a halt on Wednesday due to threat from suspected Maoists, following setting up of a hydro-power station, snapping the lone communication link for a population of above 20,000 people in 151 villages of the cut off areas of Chitrakonda region.The area is a den of Maoists.

Singh urged Deputy Speaker Sadan Marandi who was in the chair to direct the state government to ensure resumption of launch services.

Congress member Chitrakonda MLA Mamata Madhi sought Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s intervention.

Launch services were provided by the Irrigation department for the villagers in the Chitrakonda area across the reservoir, about 60 km from the district headquarters of Malkangiri.

Launches were the only mode of transport for reaching the 151 villages of seven panchayats located there.

The decision to suspend the launch services for an indefinite period was taken as a safety measure following a threat issued to the reservoir staff by suspected Maoists seeking a halt to the operations. (PTI)

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