Considered as one of the most backward blocks in the country, Bandhugaon in Koraput district of Odisha now has something to cheer about as the revenue villages and hamlets in the Maoist-hit area can now boast of electricity.

"Twenty-four hamlets in the inaccessible areas have been equipped with solar streetlights," said Koraput district Collector (Koraput) Jaya Kumar V.

Situated amid dense forests and bordering Andhra Pradesh, the Red-hit block consists of 150 revenue villages and 181 hamlets. Having the work executed in the remote pockets was no easy task as no contractor was willing to do so due to presence of Maoists. A prolonged struggle by the administration made it possible, the Collector said.

On August 4, the administration had launched a special development drive, Operation Blue Moon, in Bandhugaon and Narayanpatna blocks, through which villagers demand for various projects like piped water supply, electrification of villages, healthcare facilities and ‘pucca’ roads among others were listed and work on it expedited.

"Without road and electricity we can’t develop an area.

The administration was committed to electrify the entire block within a specified time frame. I am thankful to the technical staff of Southco and other officials concerned who worked sincerely to ensure that one of the most backwark blocks is electrified," the Collector said.

Since 2014, the Centre has included Bandhugaon block among the 10 most backward tribal blocks of the country under Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana.