Suspected Maoists attacked two construction companies in Bihar after the firms failed to pay levy demanded by the ultras, the police said on Sunday.
The 60-member squad of Maoist Peoples’ Liberation Guerilla Army stopped the construction of a siphon-bridge of Durgawati Reservoir Project on Hundari hills, around 225 km from capital Patna, on Friday.
The rebels assaulted workers and forced them to stop work until the contractor paid them 10% of the cost of the work.
After this, the rebels reached Buchcha Dam on Saturday, where the police forced them to retreat. But they returned at night and attacked the camp of the road construction company, burning down machines worth R50 lakh, the police said.
Security forces reached the spot on Sunday morning to flush out the ultras.
“The Maoists had planted landmines on the approach roads making the operation difficult,” said Shahabad deputy inspector general of police Sushil Khopde, who is monitoring the police operation.
Frequent Maoist attacks for levy from contractors have once again put a question mark over the timely completion of the Durgawati Reservoir Project, which was initiated by the government in 1976 at an estimated cost of R25 crore to end the power crisis in the state.
Construction had stopped in 2003 after the abduction of three engineers and an attack on Badalgarh police picket, set up for the safety of project engineers. The 1,640-MW hydroelectricity project remained stuck for over three decades due to corruption and later due to objections raised by the central wildlife board and forest ministry against construction in sanctuary forests.
Work restarted this year after clearance by the empowered committee of SC and other agencies.