ANGUL: Two week after operations at Balaram Open Cast project (OCP) was stopped by residents of Danara village, natives of neighbouring Soloda on Monday launched a three-day dharna in front of the Collectorate demanding resumption of mining.Production in the mega coal mine of Talcher Coalfield stopped since October 12 after villagers of Danara agitated demanding their trucks be loaded on a priority basis at Soloda and other points. Now, Soloda residents are opposing the demand and want their trucks to be given preference at the loading point in their village. Both the villages are located near Balaram mine.
Soloda village secretary Khirod Kumar Pradhan said the protest is to push for three-point charter of demands including reopening of the OCP and action against Danara villagers who have shutdown the coal mine. Villagers of Danara are on strike despite the Collector’s order that local truck association should get priority in coal loading, he said.
“We are also planning to stage protest at MCL headquarters at Burla. If the district Collector fails to take any action in this regard after three days, we will shift our dharna to Naveen Niwas (Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s residence) at Bhubaneswar,” Pradhan said.
While coal dispatch from Balaram mine was affected from October 6, overburden removal was stopped from October 10. On an average, Balaram mine produces around 15,000 to 20,000 tonne of coal daily, which is being supplied to many power plants in the State.The district administration has conducted a series of meetings to end the standoff but to no avail. Sources said the administration is mulling action against Danara villagers. However, there is a fear that arrest of villagers may escalate the situation.