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Bihar: Gangsters slow down road projects
January 23, 2007 15:30 IST
Extortion demands from gangsters, particularly the recent killing of two engineers of a private construction company, has put the Bihar government in a tight spot.
Voicing serious concern over disruption of work on various highway projects due to threats from criminal gangs demanding extortion and indulging in terror tactics, the state's director general of police Ashish Ranjan Sinha has asked his subordinates to 'fully cover' all camps and sites of road construction by mobile and static deployment of force.
Sinha said on Tuesday that he had written to all superintendents of police, range DIGs, zonal IGs, district magistrates and divisional commissioners to make full use of police force available with them to provide protection to construction workers and officials.
The Special Auxiliary Police, a force comprising ex-servicemen raised primarily to tackle naxalite menace, can also be utilised for this purpose, he said.
The state's police chief issued a stern directive to do away with all unnecessary deployment of force engaged in sundry duties at the residence and offices of officers and engage them in high priority police duties like crime control and maintenance of law and order.
"Any lapse will be viewed seriously," he said, asking the SPs, range DIGs and zonal IGs to ensure strict action against extortionists who may try to impede the road construction activities.
In his letter, the DGP said concerned officers in-charge should also visit the construction sites regularly to assess the situation personally for further necessary action and submit written reports to the SPs.
He directed the range DIGs and zonal IGs to regularly review the requirements of protection at the road construction sites and camps in their respective areas and also the action taken by the SPs to prevent extortion attempts.
Two engineers of a private construction company were gunned down and seven others wounded at Rahta village in Madhepura district on January 17, for their refusal to pay an extortion of Rs 1 crore to the Buchan Yadav gang.
Various highway projects in Bihar have been in jeopardy over the last several months with extortionists demanding money from contractors for allowing the work to proceed.
A work supervisor of a private construction company engaged in the golden quadrilateral project was stoned to death in Rohtas district last month leading to disruption of work for several days.
In another incident at Karakat in the same district, criminals had set on fire a JCB machine following contractor's refusal to pay them money.
Work could resume only after the deployment of SAP and Bihar military police.
When contacted, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar assured all protection for the companies engaged in road construction. "Nobody stops eating for fear of flies. We have launched crusade against crime and don't expect the criminals to keep silent," he said.
Though admitting that crime could never be completely wiped out, Kumar claimed the initiative taken by his government for speedy trial and conviction of criminals has started showing results.
According to the data available with the state's home department, between January 2006 and December that year, 6839 criminals were convicted due to the special initiative taken by the police for their speedy trial.
While 17 criminals were awarded capital punishment, 1389 were sentenced to life.
Sources said 306 criminals were awarded jail terms of more than ten years, while 5067 got less than that.