Accident sparks Kalinga rampage

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 18: Angry workers at Tata Steel's under-construction plant in Kalinga Nagar today ransacked the security cabin and torched three vehicles after a trailer accident killed a casual labourer.

The project had remained a non-starter for years after police firing in January 2006 killed 14 tribals agitating against the allegedly poor compensation paid for their land. Construction has now resumed and the plant's Phase I is expected to be commissioned next year.

Baruna Sethy, 28, a contractual worker, was riding a bicycle to work around 8.15am when a trailer hit him on the premises and killed him on the spot, local people said.

Workers gathered at the site, stormed the security cabin, set fire to the trailer and two other vehicles and damaged the plant's main gate.

The situation was brought under control after a few hours and construction resumed after intervention by the Jajpur district administration.

"Four police platoons have been deployed at the spot," said district police chief Deepak Kumar.

Sukinda tehsildar Manas Ranjan Samal, who facilitated negotiations between the workers and the management, said: "A compensation of Rs 8 lakh will be paid to the family of the deceased and a job provided to a family member. Besides, Rs 1 lakh was given to meet the funeral expenses."

Tata Steel officials declined comment, as did officials of the state factories and boilers directorate.

"We have nothing to do with the accident at the under-construction plant. Our authority begins only when a factory starts operating," said deputy director Kamalendu Mohapatra.


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