Jajpur admin seals ‘illegal mining quarries’ at Dankari hills

Jajpur: Continuing its crackdown on the illegal mining activities, the Jajpur district administration along with Superintendent of Police today conducted raids and sealed several illegal mining quarries by installing red flags at Dankari hills under Dharmasala Tehsil here. The administration has also imposed Section 144 in the area.

The move of the administration came after the Additional Chief Secretary of State Forest & Environment Department was directed to probe the alleged continuous extraction of minor mineral resources and its transportation from the hill.

According to reports, the concerned administration had permitted to carry out mining operations in four out of the 16 minor mineral sources (Sairat) in the area. However, after the raids the authorities decided to cancel the lease of the four sources and closed down all the quarries by imposing Section 144 in the area.

As per sources, three platoons of police forces have also been deployed to maintain law and order situation in the area.

“Police forces have been deployed and 10 senior officers have also reached the spot. The routes through which the illegal miners are transporting the materials have been cut off while the miners have been directed to stop mining operations in the area,’ informed Jajpur SDPO, Kedarnath Sahoo.

The raids were conducted in various illegal mining quarries at the hills by different government departments under the supervision of district Collector and Superintendent of Police (SP).

“There was no permission to carry out mining operations in the area. Different stone crusher units in the area who have been lending a hand to the illegal miners will also be raided. They have to show us the sources of their raw materials and if we find anything illegal, they will first act as a witness against the illegal miners and later a prosecution will be filed against them at the SDJM Court,” said Jajpur district Collector, Ranjan Kumar Dash.

Earlier on September 7, social activist Sarbeswar Behura of Jajpur had moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to stop illegal mining in the area and urged the Odisha Governor to intervene into the matter.

Following a directive of the NGT to the Chief Secretary of Odisha, a special committee was also formed to inquire into the matter and a special team of State Environment Impact Assessment Committee had also visited the spot to take stock of the situation.