Maoists protest leasing of mines in Chhattisgarh
2006-11-25 17:17. India News
Raipur, Nov 25 (IANS) Security forces were deployed in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district Saturday to safeguard Tata and Essar steel units as the Maoist rebels forced a dawn-to-dusk strike in the region.
The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) gave the strike call to protest against the state government decision to lease Bailadila iron ore mining to the two private companies.
"Thousands of paramilitary troopers and police force have been deployed at sensitive points and key mining installations in Dantewada," Inspector General of Police Girdhari Nayak told IANS over phone.
"Fortunately, there have been no untoward reports so far," he said in the afternoon.
Bailadila in Dantewada district has large iron ore stocks, divided into 14 deposits. The state government recommended to the centre last month to award mining lease to Tata Steel for 150 million tonnes from Deposit No.1 and to the Essar group for 32 million tonnes from Deposit No.3.
CPI-Maoist's Dandkaranya special zonal committee spokesman Gudsa Usendi has called upon Maoist cadres to ensure a total strike in Dantewada on Nov 25 to protest the decision.
Home Minister Ramvichar Netam said: "Over 10,000 paramilitary troopers and members of the Chhattisgarh police force have moved to Dantewada and in and around Bailadila iron ore facilities."
A home department official said the strike affected vehicular traffic in Sukma and Konta blocks and some areas of Bhansi, where Essar has planned a steel plant, as transporters kept off the road.
Chhattisgarh is one of the 13 states affected by Maoist violence and rebels have killed about 400 people this year including 312 civilians. The rebels claim to fight for India's poor peasants and landless labourers.