Mrunal Manmay Dash

Khurda: Police and Khurda district administration today raided illegal sandstone (Baulamala Stone) quarries at Hadapada in the district following a tip off about theft of precious sandstones from the area by stone mining mafia.

As per reports, the sandstone reserve in the hillocks of Hadapada which belongs to the Lord Jagannath was allegedly being mined illegally for many years by the stone mafia.

The raid today, which saw seizure of six stone cutting units, one tractor and sandstones worth crores of Rupees, was conducted by a joint team of Khurda Police and the district administration in of presence of the SJTA (Sri Jagannath Temple Administration) officials.

Suvendu Samal, the Tehsildar of Khurda said that "These stones belong to Lord Jagannath. We will be auctioning it soon as per the new environmental guidelines."

Anil Kumar Panigrahi, Additional Settlement Officer of SJTA said, "We have raided many mining units in the area. It will continue in the future too."

Locals in the area alleged that, the non-auctioning of the quarry for many years has led to the involvement of mafia in the stone supply business. The sandstones are reportedly in huge demand from sculptors all over the country.