With the murder of two engineers of a construction company in Darbhanga on December 26 still fresh in their minds, representatives of 15 firms working on road and bridge projects worth crores across the state met Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and Road Construction Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav Wednesday.
The Road Construction Department had called the meeting to allay the prevailing atmosphere of fear, and apprehension of a return of “jungle raj” in the state. The company representatives informed Yadav about the constant strain of having to work in areas under the influence of suspected Maoists and local goons, many of whom threaten companies with extortion calls.
Representatives of the joint-venture BSC-C&C, the state’s leading infrastructure construction company whose two engineers — Brajesh Kumar and Mukesh Kumar — were killed, allegedly by the Santosh Jha gang, also attended the meeting. The company has discontinued work on the 120-km stretch of Begusarai-Darbhanga state highway since the double murder in Shivram-Gangdah village.
Darbhanga Police and the Special Task Force have so far arrested 12 people in connection with the case.
The police said Mukesh Pathak and Vikas Jha, allegedly the gang’s main shooters who made most extortion calls to construction companies, are absconding.
After the meeting, the deputy chief minister told the media, “I have requested these construction companies to work without fear. I assured them (that the government will give them) security to complete their projects by deadline.” Yadav said he had given company representatives his phone number and that of his principal secretary.
Post-meeting, a company representative said, “We feel reassured and satisfied after the deputy CM’s intervention. Our employees live in camps and work under constant threats with minimum security.”