TAMIL NADU

Sub-contractors terrorised by naxals

NIZAMABAD NOV. 10. The CPI(ML) Janashakti naxals operating in Domakonda and Machareddy mandals, bordering Nizamabad-Karimnagar-Medak districts have virtually terrorised the sub-contractors connected with a fluoride project by sending them threat letters demanding money.

For the last few months, the contractors hailing from the district, have been living in fear. They are silently suffering the harassment and threats and are reluctant to come out openly against the harassment by the naxals.Though the group has a negligible presence in Kamareddy division, the naxalites operating along the Nizamabad-Karimnagar-Medak district borders frequently cross over to these mandals and carry out extortion.

The Larsen and Toubro company (L&T) which bagged the contract to complete the fluoride project at Yadavaram village in Domakonda mandal, allotted some works to the sub-contractors. Once the works progressed, the naxal group entered the scene and started sending letters demanding money.

The project is aimed at providing protected fluoride-free water to several villages of Domakonda and Machareddy mandals. The water for the project is to be drawn from the Upper Manair reservoir in the adjoining Karimnagar district. Some villages from where the pipelines are to be drawn are located in dense forest. Sources said one such letter was handed over to the L&T officials and they replied that any decision about funds would have to be taken by the company's head office in Chennai. The naxals then sent individual letters to the sub-contractors, asking them to cough up money amounting to lakhs or face the consequences.

A few days ago, rumours were rife that a sub-contractor of Domakonda mandal was abducted for ransom. Though, the kidnap never took place, it exposed the intentions of the naxal group.

A number of sub-contractors from the area are taking care of the works. Many of them allegedly received the ransom notes but are afraid to divulge it. The frequent harassment of the contractors seems to have led to the rumours of the kidnap of the contractor. However, the rumours had its effect on the contractors, as many of them have left their places.

The fluoride project seems to have run into trouble ever since the works started. Recently, a former Minister hailing from the neighbouring Karimnagar district created a scene at Yadavaram and Tujalpur villages where the works were in progress. The former Minister, a sitting MLA, reportedly rushed to the two villages and forced the officials to stop the works protesting against the proposed drawal of water from the Upper Manair reservoir.

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