Paradip, Feb. 19: Criminal activity is on the rise in Jagatsinghpur.
On February 16, many cases of shooting and bombings were reported. This has breached the peace in the region in the past one week.
The spurt in industrial activity, coupled with the rise in construction projects, is providing ample opportunities for criminals to run extortion rackets in Paradip and Jagatsinghpur.
A gun battle took place near a petrol station between two rival groups at Dihasahi Bazar on the outskirts of the town.
Two gangsters were injured in the incident. Police identified the injured as Rajesh Bhol and Laxmidhar Beura.
Later, police had swung into action to nab the culprits and raided their hideout at Singipur village.
The criminals fired gunshots at the police, who retaliated in self-defence. No one was injured.
Police have taken into custody three criminals connected to the incident, said Jagatsinghpur superintendent of police Satyabrata Bhoi.
“Police are working to curb these crimes. Special squads have also been formed. We are optimistic that criminals will be booked shortly,” Bhoi said.
The shootout incident was the fallout of a tender dispute of government civil construction work.
It is believed that the criminals were engaged by a rival group of contractors, who wanted to bag the project by intimidating the other party, a police official said.
Local traders had observed a shutdown on September 13 last year to protest against the fast-deteriorating law-and-order situation.
“Safety of our lives and property is at stake. Traders and businessmen have become soft targets for criminals. The police are indifferent. We firmly believe that criminals are conniving with cops and committing crimes. Not a single culprit has been apprehended as yet,” said Bhaskar Mohanty, a resident of Jagatsinghpur.
“Traders are being robbed at gunpoint.
“Crude bombs are being hurled at shops and commercial establishments in daylight to terrorise shop owners, said Mahendra Rout, another local resident.