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Workers scale protests against NMDC's divestment plan for Nagarnaar unit

Protestors are demanding a public sector joint venture

R Krishna Das  |  Raipur 

NDMC, divestment, Nagarnaar unit
Workers staging a dharna at NMDC’s Dantewada mine on Friday.

Employees of the Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) intensified their against the strategic of the company’s Nagarnaar steel plant in Chhattisgarh’s district.

NMDC, which is the country’s largest producer and exporter of iron-ore, had set up a steel plant with a capacity of 3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in Nagarnaar, near Jagdalpur. Of the three mechanised iron-ore mines owned by the NMDC, two are located in the district and share a major proportion of company’s total output. The two units used to feed the Nagarnaar steel plant. 

A day-long strike was observed in the mines on Friday that crippled production. 

 “The agitation would intensify further as we would be calling for a bandh (strike) in soon,” said Rajesh Sandhu, secretary of the workers’ body (SKMS).

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to Bastar, is also likely to go to Nagarnaar to extend support to the protesting workers.

According to Sandhu, the government cannot sell the Nagarnaal steel plant as the gram sabha had, in a resolution, approved the setting up of a unit by He added that workers were primarily against privatisation and did not take opposition to the plan as such. 

 “We do not have any objection if the Nagarnaar plant goes to any public sector,” Sandhu explained.

In February, workers had taken the matter to the steel secretary, who had given assurances saying that the plant would not be sold to a private entity.

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