Police firing, lathicharge at NTPC power project site

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Bilaspur, Apr 17 (UNI) The police today fired in the air and resorted to a lathicharge to disperse a violent mob of labourers who indulged in heavy stone throwing during an agitation demanding compensation for the death of a contract labourer at the National Thermal Power Project (NTPC) power plant construction site at Sipat.

Tension is still prevailing in the area, about 18 Km from here, as three policemen and a large number of labourers were injured in the incident.

The agitating labourers also took away the body of a contract labourer, who died while working at the construction site of the NTPC's proposed power plant. The police conducted a search, recovered the body and later sent it for a postmortem.

Additional superintendent of police Govardhan Singh Dharo told UNI that a welder assistant Vijay Chouhan, who was working under a contractor, died in the afternoon after falling from a tower.

A large number of labourers then began a dharna at the NTPC power plant site, demanding a compensation of Rs 10 lakh, immediate financial assistance of Rs 60,000 and a job to the kin of the deceased.

He said NTPC and company representatives had agreed to pay a compensation of Rs 7.81 lakh to the victim, who belonged to Uttar Pradesh.

Mr Dharo said a police constable and two personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) were injured after a mob indulged in stone throwing. The condition of a constable Santosh Yadav, who has been admitted to the Apollo hospital, is stated to be serious.

He said the police had to use ''mild force'' to disperse the agitated crowd, which had also set ablaze a police vehicle and an ambulance.

However, labour union leaders said the district administration and the police had a partisan attitude right from the beginning and used intemprate language during the talks which provoked the labourers.

They also alleged that more than two dozen workers have died since the construction of the power plant began. However, many of them did not get any compensation as their respective contractors did not fulfil their obligations.

NTPC is setting up a 2980 Mw power plant at Sipat. Two plants of 500 MW each and three units of 660 MW are under construction. A unit of 500 MW is nearing completion and it could start production by the year end.


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