Lakhisaray (JPN/Bureau): Maoist fund collectors spread out in large parts of Bihar spare none – not even the government. Minting easy money through levy extortion from private companies and allowing them to work is the worst kept secret of the Naxal-dominated regions of Bihar. But the incidents of government departments paying hefty levy to the Maoists for letting them undertake development work have come to light for the first time.

Work on a project worth Rs 12.67 crores has been stopped in the Naxal-dominated Lakhisaray district of Bihar due to the failure in payment of levy by the concerned government department.

The canal digging and road construction work on a 33 km stretch between Morve dam and Kajra is being carried out by the Department of Irrigation. The contract of the NABARD funded scheme is with Arjun Indicom. The project, as per government instructions, was to be completed till March last year but it is still pending. However, the department is claiming to have completed 75 per cent of the work.

As per Maoist sources, the organization has fixed 10 per cent as levy amount and so far Rs 10 lakh has been paid to them. Due to the non-payment of the remaining sum, the Maoist rebels two days back had terrorized the labourers at the project site and stopped them from work.

Maoists have been collecting revenues via an elaborate extortion network to keep the wheels of 'revolution' turning. They arm twist government officials and milk huge sums of public money earmarked for development and infrastructure work. In Maoist terminology, this is not extortion but a collection of levy.

However, police is now engaged in face saving in such matters. Despite several attempts, none of the police personnel came forward a comment on the issue.