Thursday, July 09, 2009

Maoists issue fresh threat to transporter firm staff

9 Jul 2009, 0422 hrs IST, TNN

GAYA: Continuing their tirade against Maharani Transport, the biggest transport company of South Bihar, Maoists have issued a fresh threat to the
company staff and even passengers warning them against travelling in buses owned by the transport firm.

The fresh threat has come in the form of posters issued by the zonal committee of the Maoist outfit. The posters have been put up in several parts of the Sherghati subdivision in the district. The posters were seen on Wednesday.

A few days ago, Maoists hijacked two buses of the Maharani Transport and torched them. The Maoists charged the owner of the transport company with violating their dictates and not making payment of Rs 50000 per annum levy (extortion money) demanded by them.

No less than 25 buses of the transport company have been grounded as the staff have either deserted work or refused to operate the services in view of the Maoist threat. Passengers, too, have been warned against boarding buses owned by the Maharani Transport. The posters state that the buses owned by the transport company are on the hit list of the Naxal body and that "fauzi karwai (military action)" has been planned against the firm.

"Passengers will risk their life and limb if they ignore the warning," the posters read. Meanwhile, three of the transport company's buses are lying abandoned in Dumaria as drivers refuse to bring them back to the company headquarters.

Owner of the transport company Ravi Shankar Singh alias Munna Singh said that the petrol pump owned by him was also on the hit list of Maoists. He said police action in the matter is inadequate. "If the situation remains unchanged, we would be left with no alternative other than winding up our business," Singh said. He also suspects a clandestine deal between the Maoists and one of his business rivals.

Magadh Range DIG Anupma Nilekar said the Maharani Transport wants each of its buses to be provided with police escort which is not feasible. However, the police administration is contemplating special patrolling on highways to instil confidence among transporters and bus passengers, he added.

Asked about the possibility of a nexus between one of the business rivals of the Maharani Transport company and Maoists, the DIG said that the complaint lodged with the police mentions about this but the so-called nexus remains to be established.

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