The recent death of the Maoist leader Kishanji (Mallajola Koteswara Rao) is taking the predictable toll of the railway freight traffic.
The iron ore movement along the 450-km ling Kirandul-Kotavalasa (K-K) line, under the East Coast Railway (ECoR), has remained suspended since Saturday, following several incidents such as derailment of empty rakes, freight wagons, locomotives, removal of tracks over long stretches and snapping of communication links along the route, all caused allegedly by the Maoists controlling large parts of Chhattisharh including Baliadlila area, the location of NMDC’s mines.
The Maoists were reportedly protesting against the killing of their leader in West Bengal a few days ago. First, it was derailment of a tower car between Bacheli and Bhansi (9 km) followed by yet another derailment of a rake between Kamalur and Dantewara (12 km) and then of locomotives and finally removal of railway tracks between Kamalur and Bhansi (25 km) and along with it the snapping of communication links along the entire stretch.
The running staff, stranded at several points on the route, had to be rescued and brought to the nearest railway stations. “But then the fate of some of them was left in the hands of Almighty”, observe ECoR sources. The K-K line is used for transportation of iron ore from Bailadila mainly to meet the requirement of the Vizag plant of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL). Some quantities are also used for coastal movement to the New Mangalore port (for pelletisation at Kudremukh) and exports through Visakhapatnam port and also for meeting a few private consumers such as the Jindals and sponge iron producers of Chhattisgarh. Till Saturday, on an average 15/16 rakes a day, each rake containing an estimated 4,000 tonnes of ore, moved along the line. Yesterday (Monday), the ECoR authorities succeeded resuming the rake movement, though in a limited way. Only one rake could be moved yesterday.