Raipur: Three people were killed when Naxals blew up an oil tanker with an improvised explosive device (IED) in Chhattisgarh’s district on Tuesday, police said.
The incident took place around 10 am between Kosronda and Tumapal villages when the diesel-laden tanker was engaged in rail track laying work in Rowghat area, Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Vivekanand Sinha told PTI.
The tanker had left from Tumapal camp of the Sashtra Seema Bal (SSB), to provide fuel to the construction vehicles engaged in Dallirajhra-Rowghat railway project work.
When it reached near Patkalbeda village, located around 200 km from the state capital Raipur, Maoists denoted a powerful IED and blew up the vehicle, killing its three occupants on the spot, another police official said.
The deceased were identified as drivers Rakesh Kodopi (24), native of neighbouring Kondagaon district, and Duneshwar Singh (24) (from Madhya Pradesh), and helper Ajay Kumar Salaam (23) (hailing from Rowghat in Kanker), he said.
The tanker belonged to a private firm – K R Infrastructure Construction Company – which is engaged in the rail track laying work, he said.
On getting information about the incident, Kanker Superintendent of Police K L Dhruv along with other security personnel rushed to the spot.
Besides, teams of the SSB from Tumapal and Kosronda camps also launched search operations in the area to trace the culprits, the official said.
Maoists have been opposing the project since its inception and executed several attacks in the past, fearing that construction of the rail route will speed up development works in Bastar, thereby uprooting them from the region, he added.
Construction is currently underway for the 235-km-long Dallirajhra-Rowghat-Jagdalpur broad-gauge railway project, that would facilitate transporation of iron-ore extracted from the area, considered to be under the influence of Naxalites in north Bastar region.
Besides, it will provide a transportation facility to the people in the Naxal hotbed.
Work on the first phase of 95-km-long track from Dallirajhara to Rowghat is in rapid progress. The operation of passenger train on this route has been started upto Kevti village, which is around 42 km away from Dallirajhra station.