25 held for attacking Jharkhand cement factory

October 24th, 2008 - 1:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyRanchi, Oct 24 (IANS) Twenty-five people, including nine women, have been arrested for attacking and torching the under-construction Jaypee Cement factory in Jharkhand’s Bokaro district, police said Friday.”We have arrested 25 people in connection with the torching of Jaypee cement office and vehicles Thursday. We have launched an operation to arrest more people involved in the incident,” a police official from Bokaro told IANS over telephone.

On Thursday, around 250 villagers demanding jobs in the company set fire to a car, 45 cots, 50 chairs and one dozen mobile phones, among other things. Company officials have claimed loss of more than Rs.5 million in the incident.

The villagers, armed with traditional weapons like bows, arrows, spears, axes and sickles, attacked the under-construction site of the cement factory near Boratand village in Bokaro. The employees and labourers managed to escape from the site.

Jaypee Cement and SAIL had signed an MoU in February to set up a cement factory in Bokaro. The share of Jaypee Cement and SAIL is 24:76 and together they will invest around Rs.5 billion in the project.

According to company officials, the land of the villagers, who attacked the site, had not been acquired for the project.

In the last one-and-half months, this is the third incident where villagers have attacked a factory in the state. Earlier this month, villagers had attacked the Kohinoor sponge iron factory in Seraikela and Kharsawa district. Last month, three surveyors of Bhushan Steel Company were roughed up by villagers in East Singhbhum district.

Global steel leader ArcelorMittal is also facing protests by villagers at the proposed steel project in Khuti district. The government has come under severe criticism from the opposition for failing to provide safety to the industries.

“The Jharkhand government seems to be sleeping as it has failed to take action against the attackers. Attacks are taking place on different companies in the state one after another,” said former chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arjun Munda.

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