Protesting their disengagement from loading and unloading activities at coal siding in Jagannath Colliery of central public sector Mahanadi Coalfield Limited at Talcher, angry labourers went on rampage torching about 40 vehicles at coal loading side near coal town of Talcher on Friday.

The longstanding dispute over engagement of labourers in loading and unloading of coals took an explosive turn when marauding labourers reached the side and stopped activities on Friday afternoon.

Labourers were demanding their engagement in the coal loading activities while private contractor assigned for the job insisted that labourers could not be employed since terms and conditions did not allow it. In fact, labourers had moved High Court on the matter.

On Thursday, a group of labourers led by local MLA Braja Kishore Pradhan staged demonstration at Jagannath siding. Apprehending the law and order situation, police had taken MLA and workers into custody.

However, on Friday the situation went out of control as labourers went berserk. “Labourers set 30 motorcycles and 10 other four wheelers on the spot. Motorcycles were completely gutted in fire,” said Bishnu Prasad Patra, inspector-in-charge of Colliery Police Station.

Angry labourers also ransacked office of Chief General Manager Jagannath Colliery. They also set furniture and computers on fire. The mayhem continued for more than hour. Subsequently, hundreds of labourers marched towards office of Sub Collector and sat on a dharna demanding resolution of the issue.

“We have not received any complaint either from MCL authorities or labourers’ side. Anybody found guilty in our investigation, strictest action would be taken against him,” said Narasingh Bhola, superintendent of police of Angul.