Friday, July 17, 2009

Nalco beefs up security to combat Maoist attack

18 Jul 2009, 0548 hrs IST, ET Bureau

KOLKATA: NALCO, the country's largest state-owned aluminium company, has stepped up security measures at its bauxite mines in Damanjodi, the site of
a ghastly Maoist attack last April. The measures include doubling of CISF deployment in the mines located in Panchpatmali hills of Koraput district. The company is also experimenting with the use of “blast free” mining methods in a determined bid to cut down the use of explosives.

The deployment of CISF personnel at the bauxite mines has also been more than doubled from 89 to 197 jawans. In particular, Nalco said security has been augmented at most vulnerable points—the magazine house, where explosives are stored. It was also the scene of some of the most fierce attacks on security personnel during the attacks in April.

Special emphasis has been given on fortification of magazine area by providing multi-layer protection systems like chain links, concertina, barbed wire, power fencing and brick walls around the magazine house at the mines.

Apart from these measures, the company has also drastically reduced the storage of explosives at the magazine house since the attacks. The stock of explosives is being kept for a bare minimum of about 4-5 days consumption. Nalco is exploring the possibility of "blast free" mining methods, where there is no use of explosives.

As construction of a permanent barrack or any construction in the vicinity of the magazine house is strictly prohibited, the CISF jawans have been provided with well equipped rest sheds near the magazine house for jawans deputed on duty to safeguard the explosives. These sheds are similar to the ones used by defence personnel. This is in addition to permanent barrack in two blocks that already exist at a distance of 700 metres from magazine house.

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