Monday, August 17, 2009

Post attacks, CISF asked to ensure security of mines in Naxal areas

Priyadarshi Siddhanta Posted online: Monday , Aug 17, 2009 at 0238 hrs

New Delhi : Shaken by the increasing number of attacks by Naxalites on the explosive stockyards of mining companies, the government has asked the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to suggest methods to enhance overall security at the mines. The government has also decided to ask district magistrates of extremist-affected areas to inspect the mines at regular intervals.

The decisions follows a recent high-level meeting convened by union home secretary G K Pillai with the ministries of coal, steel, mines, besides the chief controller of explosives (CCE) and the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP). The meeting was held in the backdrop of attacks by Naxalites on the mines of National Aluminum Company Limited (NALCO) and the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC).

The major attraction that mining sites hold for Naxalites is their stores of high-value explosives. Mineral rich states like Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh are prone to naxalite attacks. Around eight CISF personnel are believed to haven been killed after more than 200 Naxalites stormed NALCO’s Panchpatmali mine — Asia’s biggest bauxite mine — at Damonjodi in Koraput district, Orissa, in mid-April. Since the attack, the navratna company has reportedly stopped storing large stocks of explosives fearing they could fall prey to a fresh naxal attack.

Responding to the demand of mines ministry officials that norms on shifting of barracks of security personnel be relaxed, its officials were told to send a detailed proposal to the DIPP and CCE. The home ministry has said that the proposal would be examined keeping international practices in view. The proposal would take forwarf the ministry’s view on relaxing explosive rules for construction/ shifting of magazines and distancing barracks/ bunkers from explosives. The home ministry has also asked the CISF to furnish its views on determinig secure locations for the magazines besides deployment of its personnel. The paramilitary force has been asked to send a detailed note to the mines, coal and steel ministries on the norms to be adopted for deployment of security personnel at these mines.

The ministry has also favoured that the CCE issue suitable instructions to district magistrates to undertake regular inspections of the mines as enshrined in the explosives rules as well as holding coordination meetings with mine owners, police, CISF and CCE representatives

No comments: