Ranchi: Maoists have torched 35 vehicles in the past five months in Jharkhand, hampering the state government's efforts to woo investors and develop infrastructure.
The violent attacks by the Maoist guerrillas have created panic among the contractors involved in construction work.
The state police with the help of paramilitary forces have destroyed many bunkers and recovered more than 2,000 landmines planted by the Maoists in different parts of the state.
Police claim to have hit the backbone of the Maoist guerrillas in last one year, but the guerrillas make their presence felt by demanding levy and torching vehicles.
From January 19 to May 24, a total of 35 vehicles involved in construction work have been torched in the state.
The vehicles were set ablaze in Ranchi, Dumka, Lohardagga, Gumla, Chaibasa, Ramgarh and other districts of the state.
Police sources say that the Maoist guerrillas are desperate and indulging in such activities to make their presence felt.
"Maoists main source of earning is extortion and levy from the development and construction work. In the past, police cracked down on many companies involved in road construction that were giving levy to Maoists. This dented Maoists source of earning in a big way. The denial of levy led them to torch vehicles," said a police official involved in anti-Maoist operations to IANS.
In Jharkhand, there were local media reports that contractors did not turn up at the tender process of road construction in Maoist infested areas.
Police sources say that earlier there were two Maoist groups, Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and People's War Group (PWG). After the MCC and PWG merged, a new CPI-Maoist was floated 12 years ago.
In Jharkhand, unhappy with the merger, many Maoists formed their own outfits which were also involved in extortion and levy.
There are allegations that Jharkhand Police also raised two Maoist groups in the state to counter the CPI-Maoist.
Police sources say the CPI-Maoist used to claim six per cent levy in the construction work.
When many Maoists groups were floated, the demand for levy increased and contractors had to pay to two to three Maoist groups.
At present the prominent Maoist groups involved in extortion are CPI-Maoist, People's Liberation Front of India (PLFI) and Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC). Maoist guerrillas are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state.