Rising crime graph makes Jharkhand traders uneasy

June 9th, 2008 - 1:21 pm ICT by IANS  

By Nityanand Shukla
Ranchi, June 9 (IANS) Traders and industrialists in Jharkhand are wary of a rising crime graph with robbers striking at national highways and banks and known criminals roaming free. Sharad Poddar, secretary of the Jharkhand Small Scale Industries (JSSI), said: “Doing business in the state is becoming difficult. The government is not protecting the interests of local businessmen and criminals are roaming free.”

Of late the state where around 50 percent of the population is below the poverty line has witnessed a surge in crimes.

On May 21 suspected Maoist rebels looted one kilogram of gold from an ICICI Bank van on the Ranchi-Jamshedpur national highway.

The same week criminals looted Rs.1.8 million from the employee of a petrol pump in Ranchi while he was on his way to a bank to deposit the money.

In Simdega criminals stole Rs.380,000 from a Bank of India branch. Police, however, swung into action and recovered the looted money.

On May 25 a criminal called Anil Sharma escaped from the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi. He was an accused in about two dozen murder cases and had been convicted in two of them. Sharma is a terror among businessmen of Ranchi.

“Extortion calls have increased among businessmen after Sharma escaped. Sharma used to call the shots from inside jail, so one can imagine the plight of businessmen when he escaped from jail,” a businessman here told IANS.

Jharkhand traders had last week called a rally in Ranchi to protest the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act and the rising crime graph in the state.

“Traders are feeling scared as every week some unsavoury incident takes place in the state. The state government should wake up and ensure the safety of businessmen,” said Manoj Naredi, president of the Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (JCCI).

Official figures indicate that the incidence of crime is rising.

In 2006 there were 1,976 murders in the state as against 1,708 in 2005 and 1,499 in 2004. In 2007, 2,012 people were killed. Similarly, in 2006, a total 643 people were abducted as against 570 in 2005 and 576 in 2004. In 2007, 721 people were abducted.

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