Despite efforts put in by the government to usher in progress in Naxal-affected areas, the rebels continue to create hurdles in developmental projects.
In Dhab and Kharagpur village of Naxal-affected Palamu District in Jharkhand, rebels have stopped the construction of bridges on the Batanay River.
In 2007, the government under the chief minister's rural bridge construction scheme, took an initiative to construct three bridges to improve the connectivity in these villages
However, the constant threats and demands of high extortion money by the rebels forced the contractors to hold back the construction work.
"The bridge could not be constructed till this date. Contractors had got all the material for construction and were ready to construct the bridges. But all of a sudden some companies started leaving this place, when asked why are they doing so? They said that Naxals are not allowing us to construct the bridge and are demanding high extortion money," said
"Due to the lack of bridges people are facing trouble in commuting from one place to another," said Kailash Singh, a villager.
The locals took up the matter with Naxals, and appealed to them to allow the construction of the bridges in the area, but their efforts have gone in vain.
"Bridge construction is really important. We held a meeting and openly asked the Naxals to allow us to construct these bridges, because we were facing lot of problems, especially on occasions like marriages. People from other areas complain about the difficulty of crossing the river through vehicles, as there is no bridge. That is why we jointly asked them to allow us the construction of bridge, but nothing has been done yet," said Mritunjai Kumar, another villager.
Development has always been a big issue for Naxals.
The rebels have been blowing up bridges, railways tracks and brining hindrance to the ongoing developmental projects by threatening the contractors.
They claim to be frightening for the rights of people but their activities explain it all. (ANI)