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Nalco workers heckle bidders

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 28: Tension gripped the industrial town of Angul after employees of the National Aluminium Company (Nalco) gheraoed an eight-member team of Hindalco officials to prevent an inspection of the smelter plant.

The disgruntled employees had initially pelted stones at the vehicles in which the officials were travelling. They shouted slogans protesting against the visit of Hindalco team and heckled the team members as their vehicles entered the plant premises.

Another Hindalco team received a similar reception at the bauxite plant in Damanjodi under Koraput district.

Hindalco, one of the 14 companies that have bid for Nalco, is the first to have sent a team for an inspection of the smelter plant. The other prospective buyers include Sterlite, Pechiney and Alcan.

At the Bhubaneswar airport, Hindalco officials were greeted with black flags by a group of Congressmen, including PCC leaders. Orissa PCC chief Sharat Patnaik said his party would foil all attempts to privatise Nalco. Congressmen from the state would also stage demonstrations before Parliament to oppose the privatisation move, he said.

The BJP, too, is opposed to the privatisation plan. It had called a statewide bandh last month to protest the move.

The corporate office of Nalco said a strategy was being worked out to enable Hindalco and other companies to inspect its plants without trouble.

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