Ilam, December 16:

The Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers, living in the first division camp at the main cantonment site of Chulachuli of Ilam, head north from the camp each day after their morning parade. In their daily northern march, they carry shovels, spades and other such tools instead of weapons.

They have been working on a road project for 15 days. Locals are surprised to see PLA soldiers participating in development and construction works. The PLA men have finished the construction of a five-km-long and 24-feet-wide road leading to the camp at Chulachuli. There is no technical personnel involved in the Maoists’ team engaged in road building.

However, the road built by the PLA men is of the same quality as any constructed by a team with technical assistance.

A few months ago, the PLA soldiers had built a two-km-long road to reach Kamaljhoda of Chulalchuli from Kerkha of Jhapa. The local Ratuwamai Tree Plantation Project had opposed the Maoists constructing the road, saying it would affect the flora of the region. The locals too have joined the PLA personnel in road construction.

Rana Bahadur Limbu of Chulachuli-1 said: “I have been toiling for the construction of the road for the past 15 days along with the Maoists. Earlier, locals used to object to expanding of the road but not this time.”

He added that participating in road construction gave him the feeling that one should contribute to development of one’s village. He said he was not forced by anyone to participate in road construction.

Bhim Subba of Chulachuli-1, too, is involved in road construction for the past 15 days.

He said: “The construction of this road had been hindered for years on different pretexts. It has now become possible due to Maoists.”

Maoists’ division brigadier Nishan said the locals requested the Maoists to construct the road. Construction of the road till Chure of Chulachuli from the Maoist camp was completed on Thursday.