A construction company has sought a compensation of Rs 1 crore from the Bihar government for the families of two of its engineers who were murdered while supervising a state highway project in Darbhanga last year.
A senior official of Chadha and Chadha Constructions Limited (C&C) has written a letter to the principal secretary of the state road construction department, saying their demand for the compensation was to instill confidence among its personnel engaged in road construction across Bihar. The letter was written on January 7.
The company has already asked for ‘adequate’ security for its workers on similar projects.
Two project engineers, Brajesh Kumar and Mukesh Kumar, were killed while supervising construction on the Baruna-Rasiyari stretch of Darbhanga-Kusheshwarsthan highway in the last week of December. The construction company had bagged the Rs 770-crore project to build the 121-km Baruna-Rasiyari stretch of the state highway.
The official of the Gurgaon-based company, who did not wish to be named, claimed that the district police had deployed their personnel at the construction site only after the engineers received a ransom call and held the state government accountable for the killings.
“But the policemen were removed from the spot on that fateful day on the plea of local elections, leaving ample space for marauders to execute their design,” he told Hindustan Times.
He said engineers and contractors are now reluctant to continue work on various other projects despite the security provided by the district and police administration.
The murder of the engineers had offered ample ammunition to opposition parties to rake up the ‘jungle raj’ issue, much to the discomfiture of the ruling grand alliance (GA).
Deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and principal secretary of the road construction department, Sudhir Kumar, could not be contacted for their comments on the company’s request.
Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited’s (BSRDC) chief general manager (CGM), Vijay Shankar, said he had not seen the letter yet.
“I could not spot any such letter in the corporation. It might have been sent to the government,” Shankar said.
Dismissing its compensation claims, the CGM said that there is a provision of insurance for personnel who are killed while working on projects in the contract documents. “As such, the company has no right to claim for compensation,” he said.
The company official, however, disputed the CGM’s logic, saying the engineers were killed owing to lapses on the part of the district police. “Lives of the engineers could have been saved if the armed police personnel were withdrawn from the project site on the fateful day,” he said.
State police have deployed armed personnel at vital installations of all ongoing road project in different parts of the state.
“Patrolling on the sensitive stretch of roads has also been intensified in the aftermath of engineers’ killing,” a BSRDC official said.