Sharmili Mallick

Palpable tension prevailed at a stone quarry at Hatasuku Khadimati in Koraput district after residents of six nearby villages opposed the visit of few administrative officials to the area over the non-fulfilment of their demands.

The Khadimati Surakhya Committee, a local organization, has been opposing mining operations in the stone quarry located near Hatasuku village under Kumargandhana Panchayat in Lamtaput Block of the district since a long time.

The committee, along with the residents of four Panchyats, had earlier taken out a rally opposing mining activities at the quarry. The committee had told the locals that the decision regarding the mining activities at the stone quarry will be taken after the formation of a peace committee to resolve the issue.

Though the local administration allegedly remained a mute spectator at that time, mining activities were carried out in the presence of two magistrates and five platoons of police under the supervision of Nandapur SDPO Sanjay Kumar Mohapatra on Wednesday.

Machhkund Tehsildar, Manas Ranjan Patnaik and Nandapur Tehsildar, Narasingha Gadba were also present at the spot yesterday.

Though the members of the Khadimati Surakhya Committee vehemently opposed the unilateral decision of the district administration, the concerned officials did not stop the mining operations. 

On Thursday, when mining workers, along with some officials district administration reached the stone quarry to resume the operations, resident of six nearby villages including Paraja Khudiba, Mali Khudiba, Hatasuku, Inagaiput, Hariamunda and Lenjisuku gheraoed them. The agitating villagers said that they will not release the officials unless their demands are fulfilled.

Meanwhile, till reports last came in, the Nandapur SDPO and Police Station IIC have rushed to the spot with forces and attempts are being made to pacify the villagers.