SAIL will get five battalions of paramilitary forces for the 14 m tonnes-a-year project.
SAIL finally is in the process of getting adequate security to begin preparatory work for virgin iron ore deposit at Rowghat in Chhattisgarh.
SAIL will get five battalions of paramilitary forces for the 14 million tonnes-a-year Rowghat project located over 2,030 hectares in the Naxalite-dominated Kanker and Narayanpur districts.
Phased deployment begins
C. S. Verma, CMD of SAIL, told on Tuesday that the phased deployment of the forces has already begun. “The deployment would be in phases. SAIL has also started work for setting up camps for the forces,” Verma said.
The crucial rail and road infrastructure building work would precede the mine development to move men and machines to the inaccessible deposit areas.
The Rowghat project (deposit-F) is spread across the Malta reserve forest area. The deposit comprises 7 blocks — Raodongri, Block-A, Tarhur Anjrel, Korgaon, Khargaon and Takrel.
Rail Vikash Nigam Ltd’s contractors had abandoned the work site at Bhanupratapur in Kanker district early last year when they were threatened by armed Naxalites.
According to sources, the initial deployment would be around 1,500 paramilitary personnel along the track area in Durg.
Construction of embankment and bridges half-way along the 90-km proposed rail link between Dalli-Rajhara and Rowghat, was completed before labourers fled the area.
The rail link is to connect SAIL’s Bhilai Steel Plant with Rowghat. At present, Railway link exists between BSP and its old captive iron ore mine at Dalli-Rajhara. Sources said construction of road link from State highways in Kanker and Narayanpur, will also have to be undertaken to reach the deposit areas.
It is understood that the Centre has decided to prioritise the security support to the Railways and SAIL in building the line.
A joint working group, comprising representatives of Ministry of Railways and SAIL, have been entrusted to expedite the work, including the rehabilitation of inhabitants on the proposed infrastructure route.
SAIL made its first application in 1983 for Rowghat deposit and in 1996. The Ministry of Environment and Forests granted an “in-principal” okay.