MAC: Mines and Communities

Security Intensified At Tata Project After Violence

Published by MAC on 2007-03-01

Security intensified at Tata project after violence

1st March 2007

Police patrolling was stepped up in 10 villages of Chhattisgarh's Bastar region where angry protesters injured six policemen late Wednesday in an attack when police asked locals to call off a meeting convened to intensify protests against the Tata's upcoming steel plant, police said Thursday.

'Some local politicians are fuelling anti-Tata protests in the 10 villages of Lohandiguda and we have strengthened police presence there Thursday as the situation is very tense,' Bastar range inspector general R.K. Vij told IANS over the telephone.

He said the protesters attacked the state police team in the area Wednesday and injured five police personnel including an assistant platoon commandant of the Chhattisgarh Armed Police when the forces visited the area to 'maintain law and order'.

Lohandiguda is located some 32 km from Jagdalpur town, the Bastar district headquarters.

The Chhattisgarh government has assured the Tatas that it would provide 5,157 hectares -- a mix of private and government land -- in the Lohandiguda area to set up the plant and develop the township.

'The tribals are determined to cross any limits to save their ancestral farm land from going into Tata's hands. The police have ordered the locals to not convene any protest meetings and agree to a smooth land handover, which is not acceptable to them,' Chitranjan Bakchhi, a local Communist Party of India (CPI) leader, told IANS Thursday.

Tata Steel, India's largest private sector steel maker, is setting up a 5 million tonne per annum integrated greenfield steel plant in Bastar district with an investment of Rs 100 billion for which a written agreement was signed between the company and the state government on June 4, 2005.

The Chhattisgarh government has sent a recommendation to the Indian government for granting a prospecting license to Tata Steel for carrying out a survey in the 2,500-hectare area in Dantewada district's Bailadila hills in Bastar region.

Bailadila has huge world-class iron ore stocks that have been divided into 14 deposits. The public sector National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) has been excavating mines in three bigger deposits.

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