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Chhattisgarh: Maoist Strike Disrupts Iron Ore Shipments

A 48-hour strike called by the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) has hit iron ore shipment by India's largest iron ore miner, NMDC Ltd, in Chhattisgarh, company officials said Tuesday.

The National Mineral Development Company Ltd (NMDC Ltd) has cut short iron ore transportation up to 40 percent on a daily basis due to rail services disruption between its Bailadila iron ore mining facilities in Dantewada district, some 400 km from state capital Raipur, to Andhra Pradesh's port city Visakhapatnam.

Railways have cancelled night movements of goods trains since March 21 fearing attacks by Maoists who have strong presence in and around the NMDC's Bailadila's Kirandul and Bacheli mining facilities.

The Maoists' 48-hour shutdown that began from Monday is effective in six states, including Chhattisgarh.

'Nearly 40 percent of total daily dispatches of some 56,000 tonnes from Kirandul and Bacheli locations of the NMDC's Bailadila iron ore mining facility has been hit as rail rakes are not available since March 21 night,' a senior official of the NMDC based in Chhattisgarh told IANS, requesting anonymity.

He informed IANS that a number of domestic major customers, including Essar Steel Ltd and Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, were hit due to the distruptions in supply.

Officials of the East Coast Railway that runs goods trains between Kiradul to Visakhapatnam say the rail services would be restored during night within a couple of days after assessing the threat perception by Maoists.

Maoist rebels who claim to be fighting for the rights of poor peasants and landless labourers, routinely call strikes in Chhattisgarh and attack government property.

In recent years the insurgents carried out deadly attacks on security guards deployed at NMDC mining complexes in Chhattisgarh and in recent months the iron ore dispatches were hit hard on a regular basis.