14 arrested in Neyveli after fresh labour unrest

June 5th, 2008 - 1:20 am ICT by IANS  

Neyveli (Tamil Nadu), June 4 (IANS) As many as 14 labour leaders were arrested for an attack on the residence of a senior manager of Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC), police said late Wednesday. While nobody was hurt in the assault, police reinforcements were rushed to prevent sabotage of the conveyor belts stretching from the mines to the three power stations, an official said.

This township, 180 km from Chennai, is under heavy police protection as a fresh strike by contract labourers of NLC demanding regularisation entered the third day.

Family members of striking workers took part in demonstrations defying prohibitory orders, police said.

Labour leaders owing allegiance to various political parties, however, accused police of high-handed behaviour and indiscriminate arrests of peaceful demonstrators including women - a charge denied by the police.

An earlier strike had almost ended in April following the NLC management’s assurance to regularise contract workers but was renewed two days ago following an alleged breach of agreements between the company and the unions.

The Rs.16.77 billion NLC supplies electricity to four southern states and the union territory of Puducherry - all facing power shortages.

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