Levy raj chokes projects

Maoist menace has taken a toll on development projects in Khaira block, inconveniencing villagers' dream of a smooth and direct journey to neighbouring Giridih district in Jharkhand.

On February 21, 2006, chief minister Nitish Kumar laid the foundation stone of a proposed Rs 6-crore road bridge across river Kiul at Badildih, which would have connected regions with the most inaccessible topography in Jamui and Nawada with Giridih.

Sahadev Soren, 56, of Ropawel, a non-descript hamlet under Khaira block around 210km southeast of Patna, dreamt of easy and fast travel to his relatives' house in neighbouring Giridih in Jharkhand with the construction of the proposed bridge.

Almost seven years have passed, but the bridge construction has been forced to halt by the Maoists and local criminals, who enjoy support of the Naxalites.

Bishnu Kumar, a resident of Gari Bazaar area, said: "We were happy when work started on the bridge on November 28 last year. But the recent abduction of eight labourers, allegedly by the rebels, has once again put the fate of the bridge hanging in the balance. Though the captives were released later, the fear is still there."

There are several examples in Jamui and neighbouring districts, where rebels forcefully block development projects.

"During the five-six months of monsoon every year, we cannot attend schools because of waterlogged surroundings. The bridge is crucial for us," said Ranjeet Kumar, a shiksha mitra in Ropawel village.

Anil Kishore Yadav, deputy inspector-general of police, Munger zone, admitted that the rebels' prime intention was to collect levy from construction companies and for that, they targeted companies.

Jamui superintendent of police Upendra Sharma said the police were ready to help the construction companies if they sought protection.

A senior police officer at Munger, preferring anonymity, claimed that the construction companies negotiate the levy with rebels without informing the police.

Contrary to the police's claims, the construction companies had a different version. "Any project can be completed only after levy is paid according to the rebels' demand," said a representative of a construction company.

"Earlier, four contractors had to face levy demand by rebels or goons for the construction of the road bridge. On June 26, 2009, three workers of the then contractor were abducted and only after the levy was paid, they were released after three days," said Ramdular Yadav, a resident of Khaira.

"If we complained to the police, the rebels would have punished us because the men-in-uniform could not give us round-the-clock protection," said a company worker, preferring anonymity. The company had to pay a huge levy amount after rebels abducted three workers and killed one in August 2012.

The construction companies working in the region prefer to pay up the levy instead of seeking police help. "We have to work in the most inaccessible parts of the region where even police dare go even in daylight. So how do we expect security cover from police and ignore the rebels?" said a worker of a construction company at Jamui.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »