Maoists blast three more power towers in Bastar


Raipur : The power crisis in Chhattisgarh's insurgency hit Bastar region worsened Tuesday as Maoists brought down three more high-tension power transmission towers during the past 24 hours, officials said.

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Maoists have destroyed eight 220 KV towers in Bastar region since Friday. As a result, Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur and Bastar districts have been blacked out.

The health sector and water supply services are the worst affected. The home department of the state has beefed up the security of jails in Bastar, that house arrested leftist radicals, as a precautionary measure to foil any bid by the Maoists to free their jailed associates.

The Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board (CSEB) is working round the clock to restore power supply but officials said it would take more than a week to resume normal supply.

"It is the biggest ever loss to CSEB properties and power facilities in Bastar since the state came into existence in Nov 2000. Maoists have badly damaged high-tension power lines and totally demolished transmission towers in Dantewada district," a CSEB official said.

Bastar is home to several major private companies and the public sector National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC).

"Iron ore production and transportation to the domestic market and exports to China and Japan have come to a complete halt since the past five days and would continue to suffer for a week," a senior NMDC official told IANS.

Maoists have a strong presence in Bastar hills and run a parallel government in the interior pockets.