Talcher coalfields come to grinding halt

Bhubaneswar: Mining activities at Talcher Coalfields in Odisha, including coal transportation, came to a grinding halt today following violence by a group of labourers protesting the arrest of several of their colleagues at Jagannath area in Angul district.
The mining work was paralysed after the group violently protested against the arrest of 48 contractual labourers who have been obstructing normal working of a railway siding in Jagannath area since October 17, an official of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd said.
The protesters ransacked the offices of the Project Officer and General Manager in Lingaraj, destroying computers and other office equipment, MCL said in a statement.
The mob also set on fire an oil tanker in the mining area of Bharatpur mines last evening and today, torched two vehicles parked in front of the siding as well as removed the fish plates from the railway tracks, it said. 
The incident occurred near Jagannath Colliery area where over 150 people affiliated to a trade union were entrusted the job of collecting left-over coal after loading into railway rakes near railway siding for about seven years, police said.
The contract was given to three firms on renewal this year causing animosity among affected people, Superintendent of Police, Narasingh Bhol said.
Talcher Coalfields produces and dispatches around two lakh tonnes of coal per day and feeds the NTPC plants and the NALCO CPP besides other power producers of the country.
It is feared that continued closure would result in massive shortage of power to the state and?nation besides huge loss to the state and central exchequer, MCL sources said.