Friday, April 17, 2009

Nalco mines may resume operations on April 19

18 Apr 2009, 0446 hrs IST, Rakhi Mazumdar, ET Bureau

KOLKATA: A crack bomb disposal squad of the Orissa state police arrived at Nalco’s Damanjodi mines on Friday to scan the area following last
Sunday’s daring Maoist attack.

The delay in the squad’s arrival, which has been busy providing poll security across Orissa on Thursday, will set back resumption of mining operations disrupted for already a week.

Nalco, which produces nearly 4.8 million tonnes of bauxite annually, now hopes to start operations at its mines only on Sunday, if the bomb squad completes its job on Saturday and declares the mines area ‘safe’.

“The state police’s bomb disposal squad arrived at noon on Friday and swung into action. They have brought along a squad of sniffer dogs. The team is combing buildings, equipment and roads across a 14 sq km area,” a top Nalco official told ET from Damanjodi. The Orissa police DG and IG are also at the spot and are expected to prepare a enquiry report on the incident.

At the same time, the CISF is also stepping up its deployment at Damanjodi by nearly 25%. A 400-strong CISF force is entrusted with providing security cover at Nalco's sprawling mines and refinery at Damanjodi, nestled deep within the Panchpatmalli hills and close to the state's border with Andhra Pradesh.

The security measures are likely to shore up confidence among employees regarding safety threat in the area, especially since nearly 100 of them had a providential escape after being held hostage by Maoists last Sunday. “It is necessary for us to give our employees confidence to start work again at the mines,” a company official said

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