SRIKAKULAM: Maoist threat has become a major impediment to the successful completion of Vamsadhara river project in Bhamini and Kothuru mandals of this district.
About 40 percent work pertaining to the two balancing reservoirs on the river has been completed since March 2005.
Two Hyderabad-based construction companies – Srinivasa and Harvins – have been assigned to build the balancing reservoirs at Parapuram (Kothuru) and Singidi (Bhamini) villages near here.
When the two companies commenced work around mid-2005, the Maoists, who reside in Divvakondalu hamlet in the vicinity of Bhamini mandal, warned them of an attack if they did not halt work immediately.
The two companies have a 500-strong workforce hailing from Assam and Gujarat, and about 100 vehicles.
According to sources, the Maoists had, last year, demanded Rs 40 to 45 lakh from the contractors if they wanted to work without disruption.
Construction companies agreed to pay a part of the ransom and the work went on till April this year.
In April the reservoir works stopped and workers began leaving the sites. Their number dwindled to about 50.
Some even did not inform their higher-ups while leaving the place. Even the number of vehicles has come down to 10.
The irrigation department, however, claims that the project work came to a halt due to rains. Villagers and experts are, however, sure that the Maoist threat hampered the works.
A highly placed source in the irrigation department told Express that ‘‘mandals are the serene habitations of Maoists. It is difficult to work under Maoist pressure. No person can do anything if his life is in danger."
However, Palakonda deputy superintendent of police D Satyanarayana said they had no information about the Maoist threat to the irrigation work. "It is likely that the works were stopped in view of the rainy season. Anyway, we will look into the matter