Suspected Maoists attacked the countrys biggest iron ore mines in Dantewada and destroyed a conveyor belt early Wednesday. The attack took place at Bacheli mines of the NMDC around 2.30 am.
Dantewada SP Narendra Khare said the Maoists set ablaze over 80 m of the belt,halting operations. We immediately rushed fire tenders and CISF personnel to douse the flames, Khare said.
NMDC officials said that since the belt transported iron ore,the damage would affect the operations for some days and cause loss of worth several crores. NMDC shifts nearly 20,000 tonnes of iron ore per day through that belt. It would take two days to set that right, an official said.
NMDCs Dantewada sites are located in the Maoist heartland of Bailadilla hills. Bacheli and Kirandul together produce over 25 million tonne iron ore per year,far above the second such NMDCs facility in Bellary with mere 5 million tonne.
The rebels have often opposed the mining saying while NMDC earns thousands of crores per year,it has done nothing for local tribals. In May 2012,Maoists attacked Kirandul site and killed six CISF personnel and a driver,besides looting four AK-47 rifles and other weapons. In February 2006,they attacked and looted explosives from the plant.