Naxalism: a Rs 1500 crore organised extortion business
Naxalism, which started off as a people's movement, has now become a nearly Rs 1500 crore organised extortion business in the form of 'levy', police and central security officials said. CPI (Maoist) and especially its splinter groups, which extort the money hardly pump it back for running the movement but instead use it to maintain luxurious life-styles for their masters, the officials said.Updated: Jun 07, 2009, 09:34 IST
Naxalism, which started off as a people's movement, has now become a nearly Rs 1500 crore organised extortion business in the form of 'levy', police and central security officials said.
CPI (Maoist) and especially its splinter groups, which extort the money hardly pump it back for running the movement but instead use it to maintain luxurious life-styles for their masters, the officials said.
The Naxal literature and documents seized by central security agencies and state police forces during their operations have revealed intricate details of "levy" extorted by groups which run in several hundred crores every year.
The 'levy' is not only paid by the contractors working in the areas dominated by the Naxals but also by the industrial houses including some of the nationally reputed ones, the officials said.
Though, CPI (Maoist) still remains the prominent Naxal group in Jharkhand, there are other splinter groups which too have now started imposing 'levy' besides indulging in kidnapping, looting and narcotics trade, which results in around Rs 300 crore as annual income from the state.
If a conservative estimate is taken of the income generated from 'levy' in the seven most Naxal-infested states -- Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra -- security agencies feel the collection from these areas, which are commonly referred to as 'red corridor', amount to nearly Rs 1,500 crore.
The Naxals have even come out with a card, recovered by forces, which clearly shows the exact amount of 'levy' to be paid by contractors, petrol pump owners and land owners.
It usually ranges from 10 per cent of the project cost for those making unpaved roads to five per cent for small bridges and others.
Besides the fixed levy, the left-wing extremists groups also demand money from industries functioning in the areas "as and when they need" and even issue receipts for the same.
"There are six left-wing extremists groups operating in the state out of which the People's Liberation Front of India, earlier known as Jharkhand Liberation Tigers, is mostly made up of criminals. The groups operate no longer for ideology but purely for extortion," CRPF DIG (Jharkhand) Alok Raj said.
Interestingly, it is not just the Naxals who approach contractors for money but in some cases even the contractors approach the Naxals with money.
"It has come to our notice that in certain incidents, contractors have themselves approached the Naxals to blow up the roads built by them because they had used inferior material at first place. As the roads are blown away, no quality inspection takes place," Director General of Police (Jharkhand) V D Ram said.
Officials say, in most cases, the amount generated in the form of levy usually goes into a "luxurious lifestyle" of Naxal chiefs.