A Maoist attack on a makeshift forest department camp housing construction equipment has led to cessation of work on a 55 km stretch of the all weather Adhaura-Akbarpur road spread over Rohtas and Kaimur districts of western Bihar.
“The all weather road, 38 km of which falls in Rohtas and 17 km in Kaimur, is important for development of this backward area. Besides, it is meant to facilitate patrolling by police and paramilitary forces in this inhospitable, Maoist-affected region”, said Kaimur divisional forest officer (DFO) Satyajeet Kumar.
The road project was sanctioned by the forest department in an area which is part of a wildlife sanctuary, after clearance from Central Wildlife Board and an especially empowered committee of the Supreme Court. About 70% work of the Rs 12.88 crore Kaimur stretch of the road had already been completed.
Following the attack, in which a JCB machine and two tractors were torched, a case has been lodged at the Adhaura police station against Maoist splinter group Tritiya Sammelan Prastuti Committee (TSPC) zonal commander Anil Kushwaha aka Sandesh and a contractor, Nasim Khan, among others.
The case was lodged on the petition of Dhananjay Singh, the contractor whose JCB machine had been torched by the Maoists. Singh has alleged that Khan was in contact with Maoists and had removed his JCB from the place before attack.
Forest officials fear for their lives after the TSPC zonal commander threatened Forester Manoj Kumar of dire consequences if they dared to resume the work on the project.
“ I have requested the DM and SP to provide two sections of police force for safety of our employees during duty but only four policemen have been provided to us. I also fear for my own safety”, DFO Kumar said.
Superintendent of police Harpreet Kaur said that one section force had been provided to DFO and the concerned police stations had been directed to escort him during visit.
District magistrate, Rajeshwar Prasad Singh said he had assured the DFO of full security and that the road construction work would be resumed soon.