Pradeep Pattanayak

With the newly-formed BJP government taking a tough stand against the alleged mining scam that took place during the 24-year-long BJD rule, the mining mafia and the officers involved have started worrying about having hands in the till. 

During his recent Keonjhar visit, Chief Minister Mohan Majhi had said that those who have looted DMF, those non-Odia mining mafia who are looting Odisha won’t be spared and would be sent to Jharpada jail. 

Most importantly, Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Bibhuti Bhushan Jena informed that the Shah Commission’s recommendations are being examined and the departmental process has been initiated. 

Also Read: BJD responds to Odisha CM's 'was offered a mine' statement; terms it unfortunate

“Take it as the investigation has already been started. Mining looters will be apprehended. The points in the Shah Commission’s recommendations will be implemented individually,” said the Minister. 

But the BJD termed the mining scam allegations as baseless. 

“The Prime Minister once said that mining reforms should be learnt from Odisha. If there was a mining scam, the Prime Minister must have known who is involved,” said Sudhir Samal, a BJD leader. 

On the other hand, the Congress laid emphasis on the implementation of the Shah Commission’s recommendations. 

“The Shah Commission has recommended for a CBI enquiry. The Chief Minister has said that he would send them (mining mafia) to jail. And if he fails in keeping his words, people will give them a befitting reply,” said senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra. 

During the 24-year-long BJD government, it all started with started with the Rs 800-crore Uliburu mining scam. Then, the Supreme Court got a Rs 60,000 crore mining scam investigated by the Shah Commission. 

The Shah Commission pointed out in its report that there was massive corruption. It directed the then-state government to collect a fine of about Rs 18,000 crore from 13 mining companies and take action against the mine owners. 

As per reports, the state government couldn’t collect Rs 2,965 crore. Surprisingly enough, it didn’t take any action against the mine owners. 

In spite of all these, the Odisha Legislative Assembly witnessed uproarious scenes over another mine scam on December 5, 2022. The Opposition had alleged kickbacks in increasing the lease tenures of some mines. 

As of now, after the Chief Minister’s assertion, the people of the mining-affected areas are hopeful that the mining mafia and officers will serve terms. 

"Those who came to Keonjhar riding Lamby scooter are now riding Mercedes. Intimidating people, they have looted Keonjhar. The Chief Minister has also felt it,’ said Anidhya Behera a resident of Keonjhar.

“Without papers, minerals were being transported in trucks outside the state. But these activities came to a halt from the day when Mohan Majhi became the Chief Minister of Odisha," said Bharatbhushan Kuanr, a Keonjhar local.


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