Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Naxalites stop work on NH project

R Krishna Das / Kolkata/ Raipur November 26, 2009, 0:38 IST

Naxalite guerrillas have reportedly stopped the construction work of four-lane road between Nagpur and Durg on the National Highway (NH) No 6 near Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh.

This is for the first time rebels had targeted the road construction work on the NH. Though, they have been opposing roads in the interior areas where they have sway to restrict the movement of security personnel.

The contract for the 332-km four-lane road between Nagpur and Durg had been bagged by the Nashik-based Ashoka Buildcon Limited. The construction work was in progress between Chichola (Maharashtra) and Baghnadi (Chhattisgarh) when threats from Naxalites came.

The pocket between Chichola and Baghnadi in Rajnandgaon district where the work was in progress had been one of the worst Naxal infested areas in central India.

Highly placed sources in police department told Business Standard that Naxalites had demanded huge money from the construction company. Since the company declined to meet the demand, Naxalites called the company's base office in Rajnandgaon and warned the officials of dire consequences if they continued with the work.

When contacted at Ashoka Buildcons Rajnandgaon and Nagpur offices, the employees declined to comment on the issue. They, however, admitted that the construction work had been stopped since last two days.

A senior police official in Rajnandgaon, Prakhar Pandey, said that they were unaware of any Naxal threat to the construction company as the latter had not lodged any official complaint with the police.

The officials and employees at the base office of the company are in panic. Sources said they had been asked to remain on alert.