Focusing on development as priority, Naxal-affected Dantewada has come a long way.
Dantewada is one of the southernmost districts of Chhattisgarh. Home to nearly 5.5 lakh people, Dantewada has been in the news for many wrong reasons. In April 2010, Maoist rebels killed 76 CRPF men in a series of attacks on security convoys. The very next month, a civilian bus hit a landmine 50 km away from Dantewada. Nearly 40 people died in the attack, including civilians and Special Police Officers.
Taking development as priority, Dantewada has come a long way since then. Once a part of the single district of Bastar, larger than the size of Kerala, Dantewada is now one of the 6 districts created over the past two decades. This has helped the state government improve administration and increased grassroot focus in the Bastar Division.
With increasing road and rail connectivity and creation of jobs, Dantewada is growing in the right direction. Take the example of Education City, built in the village of Javanga in Dantewada's Gidam block. Situated on the National Highway 16, the educational hub is spread over 170 acres of land, supporting more than 6,000 students, mostly from tribal families. From degree and polytechnic colleges to a school dedicated to address the needs of children with disability, Dantewada's Education City is creating an army of first-generation literates.
Dantewada, the land of India's oldest inhabitants, is slowly scripting change while embracing the tribal way of life. We present to you photographs clicked in Dantewada's villages and towns, photographs that chronicle a future of hope quietly unfolding in the district.
Dantewada's Goshala is home to stray cows and calves that produce A2 milk. This rehabilitation centre for cattle is a production house for dairy products and bio materials that are supplied across the state of Chattisgarh. The centre trains tribal women and employs them, creating a source of income solely through self-help groups with an objective of self-sustainability. Photo - Sampath Putrevu.
After the harvest is done, the paddy straw needs to be collected and shifted in multiple round trips. Paddy straw is used as the primary fodder for cattle during winter months. Photo - Sourav Roy.
Kadaknath is a rare black-coloured breed of chicken, originating in Dantewada district. More than 80,000 Kadaknath birds are now a source of income for hundreds of organic farmers in the district. This variety has more fat, with less cholesterol. Photo - Sampath Putrevu.
Travelling towards Bacheli, students from a nearby village make their way to school. Photo - Sourav Roy.
A child under rehabilitation, after suffering from malaria. With malaria, anaemia and malnutrition rampant in Dantewada, this rehabilitation centre offers free medication to everyone. Photo - Sampath Putrevu.
The roads are wide. Residents tell us about uninterrupted water and electricity supply, and an active municipality in the town of Dantewada. Photo - Sourav Roy.
A child studies in Braille script in Saksham, a school built for differently-abled children in Dantewada. Photo - Sampath Putrevu.
A still from Tribal Entrepreneurship Summit, which was organised in Dantewada. The summit aimed at addressing poverty, malnutrition, low literacy and poor health, using the power of enterprise and technology. Photo - Sourav Roy.
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Underprivileged children in Dantewada watch the Zilla Parishad CEO talk about sanctioning fresh sports kits to their school. Photo - Sampath Putrevu.
A buffalo soaks in the November sun. Buffaloes play an important role in India's rural economy. They have better feed conversion efficiency, greater resistance to diseases and their milk is also richer in fat when compared to cow's milk. Of course, they are tougher to tame too. Photo - Sourav Roy.
A hearing-disabled child is game ready at a sports competition conducted by Saksham Trust, on the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disability. Photo - Sampath Putrevu.
A fruit vendor is all set with his stall and ready to sell at the Sunday market in Dantewada. Photo - Sampath Putrevu.
A micro-entrepreneur of Dantewada, with her child, attends a self-help group discussion at one of the farms. This woman is making money with organically grown vegetables and fruits. Photo - Sampath Putrevu.