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Vikash Sharma

Bolangir: Nestled in nature’s lap, the Basupali village had all the credentials of becoming a model village with several facilities including a school, road connectivity, drinking water facilities and provision for toilets under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. However, there is nobody left to reap the benefits as residents have started to desert the village owing to rampant illegal stone blasting in the area. A number of stone quarries have started to pose serious threat to the environment and nearby forest, forcing the villagers to migrate elsewhere.

Most of the houses in the village are now locked and several others have developed cracks due to stone blasting which reportedly goes on round-the-clock.

“Gradually people have started to desert the village due to dangers to life and damage to houses because of stone blasting,” said Tripura Nanda, a local resident.

Another local resident Sitaram Bhoi said, “The school got closed. There is no specific timing when the blasting is undertaken,”

The visuals of stone blasting have also been captured by the OTV camera team. The locals alleged that despite bringing such irregularities to the notice of concerned district administration officials, no step has been taken so far.

“We usually fix certain conditions before allowing stone quarrying or installation of stone crushers. As the matter has now been brought to our notice that displacement is happening due to illegal mining, we will ask Bolangir Tehsildar to conduct an inquiry into the matter,” said sub-collector Bhairab Singh Patel.

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