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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Chenani-Nashri Tunnel Project: sacked workers fanning trouble

Navnnet Dubey , Hindustan Times  Jammu, November 02, 2013
First Published: 21:46 IST(2/11/2013) | Last Updated: 21:48 IST(2/11/2013)

Six former workers of Leighton Welspun's Chenani-Nashri Tunnel Project, along with a section of workers and some local politicians on Friday allegedly attacked Chenani police station, 75 km from Jammu, resulting in injuries to 14 police personnel and 36 civilians.

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Udhampur SSP Anil Magotra said, "One of the former workers Arshad Malik has a criminal background. There are around 13 criminal cases of narcotics trafficking, kerosene black marketing and other offences registered against him in police stations of Chenani, Batote and Kud".

A section of workers of the project have been on strike since October 26, seeking reinstatement of six workers whose services were terminated by the company in 2012.

On Friday evening, the protesters blocked the national highway and resorted to stone-pelting, forcing the police to resort to cane charge, besides taking 25 workers in preventive custody. The protesters were being led by local BSP leader Pushpa Dogra and Arshad Malik.

Chanani was calm on Saturday and work on the 9-km-long long has also resumed.

The SSP said, "The situation in Chenani town and at the tunnel site was peaceful on Saturday. We are closely monitoring the situation."

Genesis of unrest

A major law and order problem surfaced at the Leighton Welspun's Chenani-Nashri Tunnel Project site in 2012, when a few workers, who were protesting with the support of CITU, damaged firm's property worth `2 crore and also tried to torch the police vehicle. An FIR was lodged against 31 workers, who were later terminated from service by the company.

After intervention of district administration, the company reinstated 25 of them. Reinstatement of the remaining six workers is the main demand of the workers now.

The six former workers of the firm, along with some local leaders, are fanning the trouble on the ambitious tunnel project.

The Chenani-Nashri tunnel project involves construction of a 9-km-long, two-lane main tunnel, along with a parallel escape tunnel in the lower Himalayan mountain range. It will connect Chenani with Nashri near Udhampur district. This two-lane tunnel will act as an all-weather alternative to the existing national highway, which passes through steep mountain terrain.


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