Maoists' firepower in Saranda coming from mining companies | india | Hindustan Times
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Maoists' firepower in Saranda coming from mining companies

A truck laden with eight tons of explosives meant for a mining company and looted by the CPI Maoists in July 2009 near a forest village, Getijharan in Orissa's Rourkela district is serving as firepower for the rebels holding several training camps in Saranda forests. B Vijay Murty reports.

india Updated: Oct 01, 2010 12:43 IST
B Vijay Murty

A truck laden with eight tons of explosives meant for a mining company and looted by the CPI Maoists in July 2009 near a forest village, Getijharan in Orissa's Rourkela district is serving as firepower for the rebels holding several training camps in Saranda forests.

The forest cover spread over 820 square kilometers towards the west of Jharkhand's capital, Ranchi, and a major area stretching into neighbouring state Orissa, has abundance of iron ore hidden beneath the earth. Several companies are engaged in mining activity in and around the forest cover. Use of explosives is common in those mining companies.

"There has been no trace of the truck looted last year," said deputy inspector general of police (DIG), Naveen Kumar Singh, who led the successful operation against the rebels in the forest last weekend killing at least 12 of them and destroying seven training camps.

The DIG said the rebels routed the truck deep inside the forest and went missing with the vehicle.

"We have not been able to recover the truck and the explosive," he said, adding, the rebels have used the explosives extensively for making bombs and landmines, which they have laid at every inch of the forest cover.

During last weekend operation, security forces recovered at least 10 powerful landmines, four high explosive bombs used in mortars generally found with the military and CRPF, and gelatin sticks from the destroyed training camps.

"The Maoists have taken the guerilla warfare tactics too effectively in Saranda," the DIG said, noting: "The rebels are technological far more advanced than before."

Jawans who returned from the raids said the rebels had taken the wires connected to the landmines along the trees, to prevent easy detection. Besides, they also found ambush on treetops, which was first detected in Chhatisgarh.

Security personnel said returning safely from the forest where taking every step ahead was so unsafe was no less than a miracle.

"We lost three colleagues to bullets, but none in landmines," said DIG special task force (STF), Arun Oroan.

Given its topography and cobweb of landmines hidden dug and hidden all around, clearing Saranda of Maoist control will remain a daunting task for the state. Secret agencies have reported on umpteen occasions that the Maoists in Saranda continue getting explosives directly or indirectly from the mining companies.

Result: It took security personnel almost eight months to reach Tirilposi, a revenue village, inside Saranda, which was under the Maoists control.

"Continuous fighting is the only solution to regain control of villages dominated by the rebels," said DIG Singh.

No company operating in the area was ready to comment on the secret agencies report.