July 10, 2012 2:39:20 am
Facing stiff opposition from the Naxals,the Indian Railways,which is building a track to augment supply of iron ore for Bhilai Steel Plant,has told the Ministry of Home Affairs that contractors are threatening to abandon the project and certain measures need to be taken with immediate effect. Among them the deployment of security in small stretches was suggested for completion of the project.
The Centre has raised serious concern over the Bhilai Steel plant as it fears that the existing iron ore reserves at Dali Rajhara area will be exhausted by 2015.
It was agreed that the Centre will provide three battalions,which means 3,000 security personnel,to guard the construction work. SAIL,which runs the Bhilai Steel plant,has agreed to pay for the security forces,said officials.
In a recent letter written by Chairman of Railway Board Vinay Mittal to the MHA,the problems faced by the Railways to carry out the construction work have been highlighted. Asking to deploy security in limited stretch,the letter said,On a total stretch of 95 km to be linked by rail,contract for earth work,bridges and other structures have been awarded in two parts,under two separate contracts,the first being Dalli Rajhara to Keoti and the second from Keoti to Rowghat. The new rail line will pass through at least five districts,including Jagdalpur and Narayanpur which are Maoist hotbeds,said officials.
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The work of tree cutting in the reserved forest area has to be done in a stretch of 4.77 km in the first contract in 10 stretches,whereas in the second contract the area involved in 27.65 km where tree cutting has to be done in another 10 stretches. The cutting of trees and acquisition of land can only take place under an amicable and secure environment. In the first contract,the area involved is 4 km spread over 34 stretches whereas in the second contract,the area involved is 5.7 km in 48 stretches, the letter claimed.
This is not first time that Maoist have obstructed construction work. In March 2011,Naxals,opposed to construction work,set ablaze earth moving equipment and machinery at Keoti. The rebels have been threatening contractors men and machinery,said an official.
The rail line project also faces hurdles of clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The letter claimed that the work could not progress as the MoEF clearance for working in revenue forest was not available.
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