NMDC, whose presence in Bailadila predates the Naxal problem, now pours money into security and faces issues of despatching the ore

India’s finest iron ore deposits rise abruptly from the forest floor — 32 km of undulating massiveness, four km wide and over 1,260 metres above sea level at its highest point. From the densely wooded plains of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, its swelling shape resembles an ox’s hump, prompting the tribes who have lived under its shadow for centuries to name it ‘Bailadila’.