RAIPUR: Armed Maoists stormed into the mining area of the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), thrashed three staffers of the company and set their vehicles on fire in at Dantewada in south Chhattisgarh, about 450 km from Raipur.
The officials, along with over 30 workers, were on their way to carry out survey work in the Deposit-13 site at Bailadila in two separate vehicles when they were intercepted by the rebels. While one group of the ultras bashed up the officials, the remaining set both the vehicles on fire. The workers said there were around fifty Maoists.
The Maoists did not harm the workers who were allowed to go with a warning of 'not to work for the NMDC survey again'. The senior manager PC Sahu, geologist Riktim Rai and labour manager C Sudhakar engaged in the survey assignment were beaten up. Sahu sustained serious internal injuries and was shifted to Raipur for immediate medical attention. The attack has created panic in the region.
Clearance from forest department was granted to Deposit-13, spread over 327 acres, in 2014 for mining operations. The site of the attack was barely 7 km from the main office of the NMDC.
“The Maoists oppose the survey work in the region and assaulted the officials who were threatened not to return and develop the mine. The Naxals, taking advantage of the densely forested area, managed to flee”, Dantewada Superintendent of Police Kamal Lochan Kashyap told the New Indian Express.
The survey work involved actual area demarcation for the mines and numbering of trees to be removed among others things, Kashyap said.
The mining giant NMDC is a public sector enterprise under the administrative control of the Ministry of Steel.