Jajpur: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday directed the State government to form a joint committee and take appropriate legal action against the illegal stone quarry operations at Dankari hills of Jajpur district.

Taking strong note of the case, the tribunal asked the authorities concerned to form a committee comprising Chairperson of the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), a pollution control board member, the Jajpur district collector and officials of the forest department and submit a report within a month after an assessment.

The NGT directed the committee to undertake spot visit and assess the situation at the stone quarry, informed rights activist Sarbeswar Beura who has filed the petition at the NGT.

Earlier, senior BJD leader Damodar Rout had targeted the local administration and legislator Pranab Balabantray for not taking steps against the illegal stone quarry despite a directive issued by the Chief Secretary.

Meanwhile, the Tribunal has also directed the District Collector Ranjan Kumar Das and Forest and Environment Secretary SC Mohapatra to facilitate setting up of the proposed oil reserve at Dankari.

Rout had alleged that the Centre’s oil reserve project has been a non-starter due to conspiracy of vested groups.

Though Balabantray was unavailable for comments, the local Tehsildar stated that raids are being carried out to stop illegal stone quarrying in the area.

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