The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Accident sparks attack on steel plant

Bhubaneswar, March 31: A mob today attacked Bhushan Steel plant, under construction at Meramandali, 50 km from Dhenkanal, after a youth was run over by a dumper belonging to a contractor.

The situation was brought under control only after Bhushan Steel Plant agreed to give a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the deceasedís family and police reinforcements were rushed from Dhenkanal.

Several thousand angry villagers, who have had skirmishes with the plant earlier too, ransacked the plantís office, torched dumpers, cars and jeeps and damaged computers and furniture, according to company sources.

Police informed that a dumper hired by the steel plant ran over a 28-year-old villager this morning, who died on the spot. Soon a mob gathered at the plantís gate, demanding compensation.

The deceasedís mother was put at the head of the agitationists who locked the main gate and gheraoed the plant. They also torched four trucks, two dumpers and three cars, informed the DIG of north-western range, Arun Sarangi.

But while police and fire tenders took an hour to reach the site, the agitators scaled the unfinished boundary wall and entered the plant premises.

Neeraj Singhal, the director of Bhushan Steel, demanded action against the culprits.

ďThis is the most unfortunate attack on the largest functioning private steel plant in the state,Ē he said.

Singhal claimed that the losses would run into crores though he also added that the plant is still in the process of ascertaining the damages. Speaking over telephone, Singhal also claimed production loss and loss of equipment.

ďThis will send a negative message to industry. The state government must take immediate steps to punish the guilty and improve security for the plant,Ē said the steel plantís director.

The DIG informed that four platoons had been deployed at the site and the situation is now under control. Seven villagers, he added, had been detained following the ugly incident.

Bhushan Steel, which is building a 6 million-tonne per annum steel plant at the site at an estimated cost of Rs 5,800 crore, has been dogged by controversy.

In May last year, security personnel deployed by the company had opened fire at villagers, who were opposing construction of boundary walls on roads leading to the villages. The company started partial production in August last year.

Email This Page