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Uranium supply to Ghatshila plant hit

Jamshedpur, May 14: Last week’s Maoist attack on a dumper transporting uranium ore to a plant belonging to Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) in Ghatshila sub-division has hit processing work at the unit after transporters stopped ferrying raw materials.

The plant gets its daily quota of uranium ore from the Bagjata mines. But after the May 6 incident, transporters and drivers stopped ferrying uranium ore from the mines to the Jadugora plant out of fear of recurrence of similar attacks, prompting the UCIL management to hold a meeting with them today.

UCIL’s public relations officer Pinaki Roy confirmed that processing of uranium at the plant had come down by 20 per cent after the rebel attack.

“At present, the plant is only processing 80 per cent of its total capacity as we don’t have enough stock of uranium ore. We are trying to resume supply by engaging the transporters as well as the drivers in talks. A solution is still awaited,” Roy said.

According to the PRO, every day, 600 tonnes of uranium ore get transported from Bagjata to the plant, which is about 35km away.

Around midnight on May 6, an armed squad of 15 rebels torched the uranium-laden dumper near Bakra bridge on Mosabani-Bagjata Road, about 45km from Jamshedpur, just 10 minutes after it had left the Bagjata mines. Though the rebels did no harm to the driver and the cleaner, they warned them not to ferry uranium ever again.

As a fallout of that incident, drivers of around 30 dumpers, which operate along the route throughout the night, stopped work.

Superintendent of police (rural) Shailendra Kumar Srivastava confirmed that the uranium transporters were apprehensive of plying dumpers at night. “We will provide escort to the dumpers if necessary. Transportation of uranium ore will hopefully resume soon,” Srivastava said.

He added that police and paramilitary forces had stepped up vigil in the area through combing operations. “The situation will return to normalcy soon.”