Railways suffer loss in Chhattisgarh as protest continues

January 20th, 2012 - 4:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Raipur, Jan 20 (IANS) The indefinite protest against the railways in mineral-rich but insurgency-ridden Bastar region of Chhattisgarh continued for the eighth day Friday. It has halted iron ore shipment and caused a revenue loss of about Rs.60 crore so far.

“The anti-railway protest in Bastar region has totally halted iron ore supply by the NMDC from its mines based in Dantewada,” a senior company official based at Bacheli town in Dantewada district, some 420 km from here, told IANS.

NMDC, India’s largest iron ore producer and exporter in the public sector, supplies at least 40,000 tonnes iron ore on a daily basis through rail rakes from its mines at Bacheli and Kirandul in Bailadila area.

The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has organised the protest since Jan 13 to press their demand for better railway connectivity in Bastar, an under-developed forested region and a stronghold of Maoists since late 1980s.

“Railways have refused to provide rakes to NMDC as hundreds of protesters squat on the tracks on Kothavalasa-Kirandul rail line in Dantewada and Bastar since January 13,” the NMDC official added.

The NMDC mines in Chhattisgarh account for about 75 percent of its total annual iron ore production, which stood at 25.16 million tonnes in 2010-11.

Local railway officials admit that the Railways has suffered at least Rs.60 crore revenue loss so far due to halt in iron ore transportation from Bailadila sector in Dantewada to Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

The BJYM leaders Friday claimed that the railway ministry has taken note of the protest and its fallout on railways’ revenue, and asked the protesters to send a delegation to New Delhi for urgent talks.

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