Maoists ‘damage’ Essar Steel pipeline

Members of the banned CPI (Maoist) damaged a slurry pipeline belonging to Essar Steel, near Balapam of Chintapalli mandal, in the Agency area of Visakhapatnam district on Saturday evening.

According to one report, the Maoists blasted a portion of the pipeline, while the sources in the police said they damaged a portion of the pipeline. It was believed that militia members of Korukonda area had damaged the pipeline at some place with the help of crowbars and hacksaw blades, said a police officer, who is engaged in anti-naxal operation in the Agency area. Another police officer, however, dismissed it as a rumour.

“Whenever, the Maoists are not able to come forward, due to heavy combing by security personnel, they engage the militia members to take up such activities. The incident appears to be a show of strength, as part of their Martyr’s Week celebration that is schedule to commence on Monday,” he added

Balapam is located about 30 km from Chintapalli mandal headquarter and is on the Andhra-Odisha border.

The pipeline was constructed by Essar Steel to transport iron ore from the Baladila iron ore mines to its pelletisation plant in Visakhapatnam. The 67-km pipeline passes through the states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. It is estimated that it ferries about 20,000 tonnes of iron ore in slurry form on a daily basis to the 8 million-tonne plant.

Though the incident would impact the plant’s production, there are other sources of alternative transportation, which would take care of the plant’s requirement, till the pipeline is repaired.

According sources in the police, the pipeline passes through thick forest, where the Maoist influence is pretty strong and this has been a regular feature.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 5:03:54 AM |

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