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Marking the first visit by any President to Abujhmaad forest in Chhattisgarh, Pranab Mukherjee visited the Ramkrishna Mission Ashram in Narainpur district on Thursday. He also inaugurated the new integrated terminal building of Raipur airport and the Secretariat in the new capital Naya Raipur.
Praising the mission for providing education to tribals in this remote forest, Mukherjee said: "Abujhmaad is home to one of the particularly vulnerable tribal groups of our country, the Abujmariahs. It symbolises the cultural legacy that we must preserve, as well as the challenges of taking the fruits of development to the people in the most remote areas of the country."
Spanning over 6000 sq km, Abujhmaad was once described by former Home Secretary G K Pillai as the "liberated zone of Maoists" and has seen little development. Government officers rarely visit it as the 237 villages that lie inside the forest have just a few schools — mostly on periphery — and sub-health centres.
During the visit, which also marked the 12th year of the state's formation, he praised the state government for its overall efforts: "I am delighted to know that Naya Raipur is the first planned capital city of 21st century in India and is being developed as a modern and green city."
Mukherjee singled out rainwater harvesting and solar projects that would make it an "eco-friendly capital". "I compliment the leadership for developing Raipur with vision and a commitment to sustainable urban development," the President said.