Sharmili Mallick

Mayurbhanj: Despite stringent laws to curb illegal stone quarrying, rampant blasting in stone mines near Sarisua village under Kaptipada tehsil of Mayurbhanj continue to threat human lives and disturb ecological balance by depleting green cover.

Locals allege that mafia continue to plunder the mining areas by excavating tonnes of stones on a daily basis without even caring for government norms.

Expressing grave concern, they said that due to high intensity of blasts, their houses have developed cracks threatening their lives.

They further alleged that blasting has also been disturbing the nearby elephant corridor thereby forcing the pachyderms to stray into the human settlements.

"The walls of our houses have developed cracks and often elephants get disturbed and move towards the village due to the blasts triggering panic among us,” a resident of Sarisua village, Gobind Murmu rued.

Thakur Murmu, another local resident expressed his sadness over the loss of his crops due to the frequent movement of elephants in the area and blamed the stone blasting for it.

“The concerned administration should take steps to stop the illegal stone quarrying so that the forest can also be protected and we can leave in peace,” said Murmu.

Sources said the district administration has permitted the leaseholders to carry out mining in the region provided with some restrictions but locals alleged that the miners have been quarrying stones in an exploitative manner and threatening local people of dire consequences in case of any complaint.

An environmentalist, Biswanath Sorensaid, “The high volume blast is deteriorating the ecology and disturbing the wildlife of the region. The administration should immediately take steps to shut down the stone quarries.”

On the other hand, Kaptipada Tehsildar, Pradip Kumar Behera refuted that the administration has not given permission for quarrying in the area. An investigation will be launched to trace out whether there is any presence of elephants in the region and accordingly steps will be taken.”

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