Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rebels target power supply after a year

OUR CORRESPONDENT

WHAT NEXT?
Raipur, June 3: In the activity calendar of Naxalites, June seems to be the month for damaging power supply lines in Chhattisgarh.

A year after plunging Bastar region into darkness for 11 days, rebels damaged 14 electricity poles in Narayanpur district — cutting power in as many as 50 villages — late last night.

According to police sources, 25-30 heavily armed rebels raided the Mahimangwadi and Chotedonagar area on the Orcha Road in Narayanpur district on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.

The rebels used iron rods to dig up the base and uproot a few poles, sources said, adding that 14 poles were damaged and subsequently that stopped power supply to 50 villages in the area. Officers said unlike last year, rebels did not use explosives to blow up the poles.

On June 1, 2007, Maoist guerrillas blew up supply towers between Kondagaon and Narayanpur and managed to plunge Bastar into darkness.

Besides the rural belt, power supply was also disrupted in the urban areas. It took the state power board 11 days to re-erect the towers and restore supply, as electricity board workers were often targeted by the red cadre.

Sources in the power board today said that the repairs had started in the area where the rebels damaged the poles.

Learning from previous year’s experience, strict security has been provided to the workers and technical staff of the electricity board engaged in the repair, a senior police officer said.

Sources said major damage had been caused to the poles and to the supply network, which would take at least three-four days to repair and put back in place.

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