Jobless mine workers demand reopening of Orissas dolomite and limestone mines

May 23rd, 2008 - 8:02 pm ICT by admin  

Bhubaneshwar, May 23 (ANI): A mine workers group Birsa Sangram Samiti staged a demonstration today in Orissas Sundergarh District demanding the reopening of the closed dolomite and limestone mines that had left them jobless.

The mines set up in the year 1960 provided jobs to locals, but made them jobless after 1990.

“After the mines were closed down we have become jobless and are facing a lot of problems. It has become difficult for us to earn our living. The closure of the mines has affected other businesses as well. The economy is being hit and we have no alternative also,” said Bridyadhar Dev, the President of the Bisra Sangram Samiti.

The villagers want a solution to their problems and have also demanded that the cement factory, which was closed, should be re-opened.

“If the cement factory is started again, it will be a great relief for villagers. Unemployed people have no alternative and the youth are idling away their time. It will bring an end to our problems,” said Balram, a local resident.

Steel Authority of India (SAI) officials said the company never intended to close the mines but the deteriorating quality of stones and the change in blast furnace technology were reasons for their closure.

“In fact, it was trade unions that wanted the mines to close down. SAIL has been opening it for generating employment. The quality is suitable for cement grade, so we always want people to benefit from the mines,” said Srikhetra R. Patnaik, Assistant General Manager, SAIL.

Meanwhile, the central government has launched schemes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) to provide employment to people in rural areas. The authorities have also launched a ‘Jansampark’ movement to mobilize people and stop them from joining extremist outfits which are prevalent in the region.

SAIL informed that with the help of a private company it is going to establish a cement factory that produces at least two million tons of cement. (ANI)

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