Sunday, Dec 14, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
A letter purportedly written by one of the two, Murali, was delivered at the base camp of the Hyderabad-based B. Seenaiah & Company (Projects) Ltd, near Qalat town on Friday evening by an unidentified person.
Writing in Telugu, Murali hailing from Atmakur, is said to have stated that he and his colleague, Varadaiah, from Ovveru, were safe and were being treated well by their kidnappers. They were also keeping good health but did not want any "over-reaction" lest it should endanger their lives.
The person, after dropping the letter at about 5 p.m., ran away. Immediately, the officials at the base camp informed the main office here about the fresh development.
A senior company official, Shankar, welcoming the news hoped that the men would be released soon.
"We are going to do our utmost to get them released. We are also expecting some demands to be made by the kidnappers," he said, while declining to say if a ransom demand was expected.
The base camp is equipped with a satellite phone through which information is passed on to the head office.
The firm has already kept the Indian and Afghanistan Governments posted of the developments.
Murali and Varadaiah, aged about 25 and working as hot mix and roller operators, were taken away at gun point by the Taliban militiamen near Qalat town, a few km away from their base camp when they were travelling in a pick-up van along with two Afghans, a driver and supervisor, also working for the firm.
B. Seenaiah & Company, which is into road works for the last three decades, is said to be the first Indian firm to have bagged a contract for the re-construction programme of the trouble-torn Afghanistan. It was among the five firms awarded sub-contracts to lay the 490 km-long road between Kabul and Kandahar by an American consortium.
The first project was for 85 km, worth Rs. 200 crores that had U.S. aid, while the second project was for a road from Kandahar to Spin Bolduk, worth Rs.100 crores funded by the Asian Development Bank.
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