Manpower crisis hits Keonjhar mining theft

Bhubaneswar/Keonjhar: Much before the recent visit of the Centre appointed Justice M B Shah Commission which inquired about mining irregularities in mineral rich Keonjhar district, the district collector had requested the government to fill up vacancies in several departments to control illegal activities in the mining sector. The government however has shown a very lukewarm response to the request of the collector and has taken no measures to fill up the posts.

On October 28, 2011, it was learnt by the district collector in the review meeting of the task force constituted to control illegal mining that there was acute manpower shortage due to vacancies in several important departments. These included revenue, forest, police and transport departments. The collector in his November 17, 2011, letter to the chief secretary had warned that it was almost impossible to check illegal mining and transport without filling up the vacant posts.

Most ironically, the maximum number of vacancies lied in police department. There was a shortage of 21 SIs, 16 ASIs, 10 havildars and 65 constables. Likewise, there was shortage of 15 MVIs in the transport department and 6 RIs in the tehsil office at Barbil under the revenue department. Former chief secretary, Sahadev Sahoo suggested,"The vacancies could have been filled up by bringing in staff from other districts on deputation." Chief secretary Bijay Pattanik however explained that a review meeting would soon take place to study the requests of the Keonjhar collector.