Inaction to curb illegal stone mining in Odisha raises concern

Rourkela: Allegations of illegal stone mining and blatant flouting of forests and environment guidelines right under the nose of local administration in Sundergarh district have raised serious concerns.

Such allegations of illegal mining have been levelled by Tehsildar of Bisra, Dilip Patnaik against one Pratap Prasad of Motikucha village under Bisra Police limits.

“Illegal mining is being done for last 10 to 15 years by leasing farmlands in the area. Despite lodging an FIR some months back no action was taken,” said Tehsildar of Bisra, Dilip Patnaik.

The Bisra Tehsildar also said that as the area comes under the purview of Forest department, he had informed the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Deputy director of Geology department and Mines department, but nothing was done.

However, after repeated complaints by some local residents, Crime Branch launched an investigation into the case following which Forest department officials have visited the mining site.

“I have been told that mining is underway in the area over quite some time, but since I have joined recently, I can get more information only after an investigation,” said Forest Ranger Manikeswari Hansda.

On the other hand, Sundergarh district collector Nikhil Pawan Kalyan has assured to take action against the guilty.

“We are expecting to get the investigation report soon and accordingly we will take action,” said the district collector.

Apart from illegal mining, accused Pratap was allegedly running stone crushers in the area illegally. No comments could be obtained from Pratap.