Bhubaneswar, Nov 29:
Angry villagers deprived of employment along with their supporters have set at least 35 vehicles including 30 two-wheelers and an office of the Mahanadi Coal Fields (MCL ) on fire at the Jagannath colliery railways siding in Talcher according to reports reaching here.
The local MLA Braja Kishore Pradhan has been injured following attacks by ‘goons’ allegedly deployed by a contractor Bichitrananda Sahu who has the contract to load coal at this railway siding.
Seven platoons of police have been deployed at the spot to prevent further escalation of violence.
Preliminary reports say the violent incident resulted when a large rally of over 1500 people led by the local MLA Pradhan marched into the railway siding to demand re-employment of workers who had been thrown out by the contractor responsible for loading of coal at the railway siding. These workers had been working at the siding for 15 to 20 years but the new contractor Sahu who took over in September this year had chosen to sack them.
All hell broke loose when Pradhan was allegedly attacked by ‘goons’ deployed by the contractor and angry supporters of the MLA went on a rampage in retaliation.
While some sources said the MLA was not attacked, a local source insisted he was injured in the attack by the contractor’s men.
It has not been possible to get in touch with the MLA so far.
After the incident, villagers marched to the sub-collector’s office where they sat on a protest dharna.
The contractor Bichitrananda Sahu has filed an FIR with the local police alleging that outsiders who came in thousands had attacked his men and indulged in largescale violence.