The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Black after red flash

Raipur, June 2: A major part of Bastar has plunged into darkness after Maoists blew up three high-tension power supply towers in the dense woods.

The attack comes in the wake of a similar explosion engineered by the rebels at Vizag. There is already an alert at power installations inneighbouring Jharkhand.

Day-to-day life in tribal-dominated Bastar has been severely affected. Besides train services, production in the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) has also been hit.

For the last two days, civic bodies have not been able to operate pump houses and people have been forced to go out in search of water. Trains came to a halt on the Kirandul-Vishakhapatnam section. Though only one passenger train runs in the section, the operation of goods trains was severely hit, affecting work in NMDC. While production in the mining facilities had come to a halt, the company could not transport iron ore to Vishakhapatnam for expor.

Two dozen goods trains normally leave every day with iron-ore for Vishakhapatnam.

The Naxalites blew up the high-tension power supply towers in the forests of Dhourie and Farasgaon on Thursday night. Since the towers were in inaccessible terrain, the fault was detected only late Friday evening.

After the state-run electricity board failed to detect the fault, a chopper was pressed into service and the three towers were located lying on ground near Barsur, about 500 km from the state capital.

As work to restore electricity supply began this morning, officials said it would take four to seven days to restore normality. The damaged towers are in deep jungle, which do not have roads. Sources said officials and employees of the power board had to walk around 50 km to reach the site of the blown up towers.

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