Tension gripped Gandhamardan mining area over transportation of iron ore on Friday. Normalcy was restored after the district administration imposed Section 144 and detained 35 persons.
According to sources even though the Gandhamardan mine, managed by the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), has been closed by the local people for last two years over the demand to engage local labourers, give first preference to the locals for transportation of iron ore and fines from the mines and undertake peripheral development activities in the affected areas, the OMC called for open tenders for transportation of iron ore and fines form the mine.
The locals opposed the tender process and continued their agitation in front of the Regional Manager’s office of OMC, at loading point and before the Collector’s office.
Social activist Tulasi Munda, senior leaders of Congress and BJP also extended their support to the local people in their protest against the tender process.
However, senior officials of the district administration along with 17 platoons of police force and senior police officer rushed to the loading spot and imposed Section 144 in the area. They also gave chance to the lowest bidder to transport the iron ore from this mine to Paradip port.
Banspal block president of BJD Umakanta Bindhani, senior citizen Suresh Patra and other 18 tribal women were detained by the police. Tulasi Munda was also detained.