Friday, July 22, 2011


After closure of the fertilizer factory, the Sindri township suffered yet another major blow on Wednesday when CRPF formally started shifting its group centre from here.

The group centre office, headquarters to five battalions of the elite paramilitary force, formally shifted to its new base station at Ranchi and started functioning there since Wednesday. With this, jawans and their family members have also started deserting the town creating a sense of insecurity among the civilians of this town.

The CRPF group centre was shifted to Sindri from Jamshedpur after closure of the factory in 2003. The group centre was shifted here in the name of protecting the national assets after the factory was shut down. It was not only headquarters to nearly 5,000 personnel but soon Sindri was developed into a recruitment-cum-training centre for new recruits.

Hundreds of township youths have benefited in the last eight years when they got recruitment in the force. Later, the headquarters of one battalion of Combat Battalion for Resolute Action(CoBRA) was also shifted to Sindri to tackle the increasing Maoist activities in the state. Though the jawans used to be deployed in law and order duty in far-flung areas like Chhattisgarh and J&K, their family members used to live here. Presence of such a large number of force personnel and their family members turned this dying fertilizer township once again into a bustling city. After closure of the factory when nearly half of its former employees left the town for good, the market place used to wear a deserted look and most of the shopkeepers and business establishments started looking for greener pastures.

But an increasing number of force personnel and their family members along with new recruits and trainees turned it into a happening place once more. The force personnel soon mingled with the civil society and became a part of the larger Sindri family.

Now when the personnel have started moving out, a pall of gloom has descended on the town. Not only the residents used to feel safe in presence of the force, but traders of the town and the district is expected to lose business worth nearly Rs 1 crore a month, said Deepak Kumar, the vice-president of the Dhanbad District Chamber of Commerce. The chamber had appealed to the Union government to stall movement of the force till finalization of the revival proposal of the closed fertilizer factory but to no avail, he said, adding that shifting the force without any alternative arrangement of protecting the factory assets would only increase its vulnerability.

Antisocial elements would take away doors and other fixtures of the unprotected factory quarters and thieves would pilfer factory equipment with renewed vigour, he said.

Shifting of the CRPF group centre also has other ramifications. The force used to pay Rs 3.5 lakh to the JSEB as electricity charges. Unable to stop huge transmission loss due to mass scale power theft, the JSEB was somehow managing the show. Reduction in revenue collection would certainly increase pressure on power consumers of the town. Similarly, as the fertilizer factory has no regular income after the closure, the management was supplying water to the colony residents with the CRPF support. Now funds crunch is bound to affect the water supply of the town, added Kumar.

Chief manager of the fertilizer factory Kulwant Singh said that though he had also appealed the corporate management to stop shifting till its revival but since these are ministry-level decisions "we are not in a position to say anything".

"We have just been directed to take over possession of buildings and other facilities vacated by the CRPF," he added. He, however, admitted that the factory management would now have to request the corporate office for financial support for continuing water supply and other facilities for the residents.