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Assam: 4 killed in Black Widow attack on power plant
K Anurag in Guwahati | February 12, 2008 17:31 IST
Last Updated: February 12, 2008 17:34 IST
Power generation in the 275 MW Kopili power project of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), located near Umrangshu in the insurgency-ravaged North Cachar Hill district of Assam came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday in the wake of Monday's militant attack on a convoy of employees of the power corporation that left four dead and two injured.
NEEPCO sources said that the militants also cut the 33 KVA line and a number of telephone lines to the Umrangshu plant of the Kopili Hydro-power Project before the attack, throwing power generation out of gear.
The attack left over 300 families of NEEPCO employees in Umrangshu township in jitters.
The police said that four persons, including three security men and a driver, were dead and two other security personnel injured when suspected militants belonging to the Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel Garlosa) faction or Black Widow ambushed a three-vehicle convoy of NEEPCO employees coming from Umrangshu power plant to the township under police escort on Monday evening.
The third vehicle of the convoy carrying security personnel came under heavy automatic weapons fire from militants hiding in the thick forest along the hilly road.
The ten-kilometre stretch of road from Umrangshu power plant to the NEEPCO staff colony is considered highly vulnerable due to the presence of militants.
This is the second attack by the Black Widow ultras on the NEEPCO power plant and its staffs in the last month. On January 14, Black Widow militants opened fire on the power house campus at Umrangshu, killing five persons including a minor and two security personnel.
Following the January 14 attack, NEEPCO authorities asked for at least one additional company of over 100 personnel of Assam Police Battalion to augment security cover to its plant and staff in Umrangshu, but the Assam government provided only additional 24 personnel, taking the total strength of security forces at the disposal of the power project to only 66.
NEEPCO sources said the Black Widow ultras had demanded of Rs two crore, which the power company, a Government of India undertaking, had turned down. The constant fear of ultras has devastated the NEEPCO employees and their families engaged in Kopili Power Project.
Meanwhile, the NEEPCO was unable to generate any power from the 200 MW Umrangshu plant on Tuesday due to disruption of the power transmission line by ultras on Monday.
Moreover, no power could be generated from the two upstream plants of the Kopili project at Khadong with a total capacity 75 MW as panic-stricken employees refused to go to work in the wake of the fresh militants strike.