Bardiya, December 14:

Local Development Officer of the Bardiya District Development Committee (DDC) Basanta Kumar Rai has accused the Maoists of seizing all sources of income of the DDC and leaving it high and dry.

“They have been collecting millions of rupees by exploiting the DDC resources,” he said

“Three years ago, the DDC appointed a contractor to manage the Badhaiya Lake at Sorahawa VDC,” Rai said, adding, however, that the “Maoists have been collecting up to Rs 10 million annually by selling fish of the lake.”

Chief District Officer (CDO) of Bardiya, Shiva Prasad Nepal, said that the Maoists have only stopped killing people.

“Locals have not been able to live in peace because of Maoist activities,” he said, adding: “The people still do not dare approach the Maoists and talk to them.”

According to Nepal, the Maoists have barred the displaced people from returning home and VDC secretaries from returning to the district. Nepal added that the Maoists were continuing with collection of taxes and donations.

The Maoists collect tax from vehicles plying the pontoon bridge over the Karnali River in Kothiyaghat. In a meeting held with representatives of seven parties, the Maoists said they won’t let the government re-establish VDC offices, the Bardiya DDC said.

Deputy chief of the Maoists’ Bardiya people’s government Bal Ram Kafle said the Maoists will continue collecting taxes and will continue performing all works of the local body (DDC) till they are included in the interim government.

The Maoists have not yet returned the seized land and houses of the displaced. A human rights team went to Bardiya on Tuesday to facilitate the return of the displaced

to their homes, but to no

avail. Regional coordinator of the Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC) Bhola Mahat said: “The Maoists didn’t even attend the programme organised to press for the return of the displaced.”

District president of the Nepali Congress Sanjay Gautam said: “The Maoists have not abided by the peace treaty. There has been no change in their conduct.”

A report from Damak said Maoists are still collecting tax in some half a dozen Village Development Committees in southern Jhapa, including Shivganj, Baigundhura, Topgachhi and Panchgachhi.

They are collecting tax from livestock markets, local markets, and from food suppliers in these VDCs. The Maoists, in the name of their people’s government, also selected contractors by issuing tender notices three months ago.

“As no mechanism has been formed on the issue of collecting taxes in the district, we

are collecting the taxes,”

Jhapa’s Maoist spokesperson Sulav said. The Maoists, in the name of their people’s government, have also selected contractors by issuing tender notices, which they did three months ago.

Meanwhile, the Maoists have also put Nandu Thebe of Damak-8 under pressure to leave his land and house. “Maoists, poking their noses in our family dispute, are pressurizing us to leave our land and house,” Nandu’s wife Shanti Thebe said. “Yesterday, they forced us to sign documents stating that we are leaving the land and house,” she added.

25 youths ‘forced’ to join PLA

Phidim: Local people have accused the Maoists of forcibly taking over 25 youths and children from different VDCs of Panchthar district for recruiting them in their People’s Liberation Army (PLA) this week. The Maoists took youths and children of ward numbers 1 and 2 of Liwa VDC and ward number 9 of Kuruwa VDC, they said. The Maoists took the youths from Linba, Duri-dimba, Kuruwa, Mauwa, Angna, Hangum and other villages. According to eyewitnesses, the Maoists took the youths towards Morang on Tuesday. “The Maoists took the youths from their houses, promising to recruit them in the PLA. The Maoists took them towards PLA’s sub-camp at Yanshila in Morang,” a local teacher, Ram Prasad Makhim, said over phone. — HNS