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Lohardaga, Gumla and Latehar Panic pause on ore supply continues

It has been three weeks since Maoist rebels torched six trucks carrying bauxite on Ghaghra-Bishunpur road. But Hindalco Industries Limited, a flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group, is paying the price till date.


Two units of Hindalco, one in Renukoot and the other in Muri, are on the verge of running out of bauxite deposits as dispatch and transportation of ores from mines in Gumla and Lohardaga districts have stopped after that incident. Fearing fresh Maoist attacks, transporters have stopped ferrying bauxite ores to the units.


"For over 21 days, we have not been able to send bauxite to our Muri-based refinery and integrated plant in Renukoot. As a result, the units are slowly running out of bauxite deposits, thus dealing a blow to manufacture of aluminium products," said K.K. Dave, the general manager (mines) of Hindalco Industries Limited. He added that 7,000 to 8,000 tonnes of bauxite get transported from the mines every day under normal circumstances.


He further pointed out that in the 2008-09 fiscal, out of 365 days, there were 200 non-working days in the mines due to the bandhs called by various rebel outfits in the area. "The scene has not changed in this fiscal. How can industries exist in the state under these circumstances?" asked Dave.


To ensure that trucks and dumpers can safely ply on the route, the police top brass held a high-level meeting with transporters in Gumla on May 29. Senior police officials, including IG (operations) D.K. Pandey, DIG (Ranchi zone) R.K. Mallick and superintendents of police of Lohardaga, Gumla and Latehar — three districts where either mines are located or ore-carrying vehicles ply through — tried to convince the transporters to ply their vehicles, assuring protection.


After the meeting, Mallick had even claimed that dispatch and transportation of bauxite from the region would resume soon. But the situation has failed to look up.


According to sources, People's Liberation Front of India had attacked the trucks on May 12 to avenge the death of two of their top cadres.


Besides, the outfit has asked the state and the company to ensure better health, education, electricity and road facilities for villages located around the mines.


June 4, 2009 / Telegraph


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