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Nalco attack: mines’ security under review

business Updated: Apr 14, 2009 22:42 IST
HT Correspondents

The government is reviewing security in mines in naxal-hit areas in the wake of the weekend attack on Nalco's bauxite mine in Orissa.

The ministry of mines on Monday convened a meeting with Nalco officials, representatives of home ministry and CISF, to review security arrangements in the state.

Mining operations in Damanjodi area have come to a complete halt, and it may take several days before normalcy can be restored.

Nalco CMD C.R. Pradhan told Hindustan Times, “The mining areas at Damanjodi have now been handed over to the police and we have not yet got them back. Once we get back the mines, we will decide what to do next.”

Pradhan said existing security in mining areas would be reviewed and a new security plan would be put in place soon.

The attack may not have derailed the Navratna company's operations, but it has sent shockwaves among the industrial and mining community in Orissa.

The weekend raid, which left 10 CISF jawans and four naxalites dead, was evidently directed against a van that was carrying 9 tonnes of explosives to the mines.

"Naxalites often attack mines in an attempt to rob explosives and gelatine sticks which are used to blast rocks in mining," said a senior ministry official on condition of anonymity. "In the past such attacks have taken place in other states like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh as well and this attack on Nalco is on the same lines. Elections round the corner also substantiate this reason."

Nalco has convened a board meeting on April 17 to take stock of the situation.

Harish Pradhan, deputy general manager in Nalco's corporate communications department told HT, "So far, there has been no impact on production of alumina and aluminium. We have a bauxite storage yard at Damanjodi where sufficient stock is normally kept to cater to exigencies like conveyor belt problems or rains. The stock can cater to the demands of the plants at least for the next seven days."

Company sources said the workers would be paid as the mines have been closed due to extraordinary circumstances.