The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Death sparks cadre chaos at steel mill

Ranchi, July 26: Kathmandu-based Kohinoor Group last evening got a taste of vandalism allegedly perpetrated by the cadre of a ruling UPA constituent.

Losses are estimated to be around Rs 5 crore, said a company official.

A group of armed JMM activists allegedly stormed into the factory premises in Seraikela-Kharsawan district around 6pm yesterday and destroyed equipment. The death of a contract worker, Netai Karmakar, electrocuted last Tuesday while on duty, prompted the vandalism, said sources. Workers had rushed the victim to the MGM Medical College and Hospital but he died the same night.

Police sources said two local JMM leaders — Rudra Pratap Mahto and Sukram Hembram — led a group of about 100 armed party cadre into the factory last evening. The agitated group destroyed five electric furnaces and four boilers. The premises plunged into darkness as some activists snapped power connection from the main switch room. The agitators damaged the 17MW captive power plant at the factory and dragged several company officials and workers out of the premises after threatening them with dire consequences.

The mob terrorised the company officials before leaving the factory, saying they would not allow production to restart till their demand for compensation (amounting to Rs 10 lakh) to the kin of the deceased was met.

The company management had assured the family of the deceased that it would pay the compensation decided by the labour department. Moreover, a job to a member of Karmakar’s family was also promised.

Company officials refused to comment on the incident but the director of Kohinoor Steel Private Limited, Sanjay Bubna, said an FIR had been lodged in Chowka police station after the ransacking, which continued for two hours.

Kohinoor Steel management got in touch with deputy chief minister Sudhir Mahto, who is in Delhi. Mahto, the legislator of the area, has assured the management to look into the matter.

Seraikela-Kharsawan superintendent of police Lakshman Prasad Singh played down the incident.

“The JMM workers are agitated because of the death of a contract labourer. But there has been no untoward incident inside the company or disruption in production. We have sent police force to the company,” Singh said.

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