Maoists torch construction machine in bid to stall road work in Madhya Pradesh

BHOPAL: Three days after the abduction of Sukma collector in neighbouring Chhattisgarh, a group of 20 to 25 Maoists, including four women, in a pre-dawn attack on Tuesday allegedly torched a JCB machine in a bid to stop the construction of a 13 km road stretch under the Prime Minister Grameen Sadak Yojna at Gaighat in Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district.

Minutes after the strike, which took place at around 2 am under Hatta police station in eastern MP, the Red rebels sent some people to the camp, where the workers part of the road construction works were sleeping, and summoned the machine’s driver and supervisor. The Maoists allegedly asked them to switch off their mobile phones and threatened not to inform the police about the incident.

The Maoists left behind a pamphlet stating that Ganpath Patel, the contractor hired for the construction of road, was a police mole and had betrayed people. The leaflet stated that the cutting of trees for road construction was prohibited as the rebels were against development works in jungles, Balaghat inspector general of police (IGP) U R Netam said.

The road is being constructed between Kotiyatola and Kasangi, police said adding that they would provide all possible help to ensure that its work was completed.

This is after 18 months, the Maoists have set afire a machine involved in road construction. Then, the rebels had torched five vehicles of a contractor in Baiher area.

“We have already sounded an alert in the district after the abduction of Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon in the adjoining Chhattisgarh three days back,” Netam said.

He said police were patrolling the Maoist-affected areas and carrying out combing operations the forests of the district. Night vigil too has been increased, he adds.

Balaghat is situated close to the Maoist-hit Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh in the east and Gondia district in Maharashtra as well.

Tanda and Malajkhand dalam were operating in Balaghat district. These dalams often cross over to Gadchrioli in Maharashtra and Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh and indulge in violence.

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