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April 11, 2012

Maoist fear hits tourism in Jharkhand

     Lohardaga: The fear of the Maoists in Jharkhand has badly affected tourism in Lohardaga region, well-known for its scenic beauty and historic temples. The recent incidents of violence have deterred tourists from visiting the state, particularly due to fear of shutdowns. People here have been hoping for a good tourist inflow but are worried that because of the fear of Maoists, the tourists do not visit the place. "The area has dense forest cover and Damodar River originates from Chulhapani and this is the most beautiful place in Jharkhand. This is a good place for tourism. There is the Lori Hill nearby where an ancient Shivalinga is situated in a cave. People come here to worship Lord Shiva. It is a forest area and one has to travel long way through forest to reach the place. Also, because of the Maoists fear, no one dares to visit the place," said Jai Narayan Mahato, a local. People of the area have urged the administration to take steps towards developing tourism activities in the region, which would encourage business activities for the locals to earn their livelihood. "If the administration pays attention, a road to this place can be developed which will allow people to come, and it will become a good tourist place in Jharkhand. Then, people from different far-flung places would visit Chulhapani. This would help local people to engage in allied business activities to earn their livelihood, and this would attract good crowd also," said Amod Singh. Due to presence of extremists, progress, development and prosperity have taken a backseat in the region. Lohardaga Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Ram Gulam Sharma, said that the rebels are bent upon ensuring zero development in the area through their violent activities. "The police force does not venture out into the jungle area alone for security reasons. But, the moment we enter the forest area, the Maoists escape. They hide in the jungle and attack us like cowards. On the other hand, they hinder development work. They extort money from contractors and small companies. Everywhere, Maoists are an impediment to development. They are threat to people living in the forest areas. They attack young girls and women. They have sexually abused many girls in the region. So, definitely there is fear in the region," said Sharma.
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