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Police crackdown after Maoists blow up Bihar’s lone solar plant

The rebels had demanded Rs10 million as levy but the company refused to pay

Gulf News

Patna: Panic has gripped Bihar’s officials after Maoists blew up the state’s lone solar plant on Tuesday night for its failure to pay Rs10 million as levy. The total damage caused by the explosions is stated to be around Rs200 million.

The solar plant was producing 25 MW of power and was being considered the major step towards “green energy” to reduce dependence on traditional energy.

Police said a group of Maoists raided the solar plant located at Amas block in Gaya district, more than 140km south of Patna, on Tuesday and exploded as many as 20 bombs to destroy the plant.

As per reports, a group of 150-200 rebels surrounded the plant while a highly trained squad of 30 rebels carried out the operation after holding the company security guards and technical staff hostage. Fifteen security guards and five technical staff were present at the plant site when the rebels raided.

Witnesses said the entire operation lasted for about an hour, during which the rebels used highly explosive devices to detonate the plant, its administrative buildings and its control room.

The entire plant is spread over 125 acres areas of land and had only recently been set up on public-private partnership mode on the initiative of chief minister Nitish Kumar.

It was set up by the Wellson Energy Company Private Limited. The company was producing 25 MW of power through 90,000 solar plates and was selling it to the grid in Gaya’s Sherghati sub-division for distribution.

The police have registered a case against 40 Maoists in connection with the blasts and launched a massive manhunt to nab the absconding rebels. So far, three accused have been arrested, police said.

“Raids are on to nab the absconding rebels. We hope to arrest them soon,” a local police official Ramvilas Yadav told the media today. The case was registered on the statement of solar plant staff.

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