By Our Correspondent
JODA/BARBIL/KOIRA/BONAI/RAIRANGPUR: With leases of near about 40 iron ore and manganese mines expiring by March 31, 2020, in the name of stock of minerals, there has been no let-up in illegal mining and mineral transportation in Odisha’s mineral rich Keonjhar, Sundargarh and Mayurbhanj districts despite GPS and Integrated Mines Mineral Management System (i3Ms) being in place.
Recently, Police in Joda-Barbil in Keonjhar had seized six dumpers of Patnaik Minerals Pvt Ltd, owned by Dipti Ranjan Patnaik , carrying illegally extracted iron ores at Nalada.60 metric tonnes of mineral were being transported to Jharkhand.The seizure of the minerals pointed to a failure of the i3Ms system meant to check illegal mineral transportation. Sources alleged that the mines authorities have been lethargic while some unscrupulous officials are facilitating the illegal activity for hefty commissions.
Sources also revealed that Essel Mining Industries Ltd, KJS Ahluwalia Mines, KN Ram Mines, Aryan Mining Trading Corporation, MGM Mines, SN Mohanty Mines, DR Patnaik Mines, Patnaik Minerals , Tata Group, Prakash Industries Ltd, Sirajuddin Mines, BC Dagra Mines, Kaliga Mining Corporation and few more in Keonjhar, Sundargarh and Mayurbhanj have been illegal mining and mineral transportation.
Even though the government has introduced the Integrated Mines Mineral Management System (i3Ms) to check mineral loot and track its transportation, such illegal activities have not been stopped. It is alleged that a squad of mining inspectors is not functioning well.
The Steel and Mines department and the state government have resorted to various measures to check illegal mining and transport of minerals. Despite this, such illegal activities have been on the rise in the area, exposing the lax steps of the mining department, locals alleged.
In Keonjhar, Sundargarh and Mayurbhanj mining belt, locals alleged that the illegal activity is only possible after the fraudulent truck owners greased the palms of some unscrupulous Mines and Transportation department officials.
The matter came to fore after a former truck owner of Silijoda village under Joda block in Keonjhar district brought the menace to the notice of the RTO department and lodged a written complaint with the local police. The incident has raised serious questions— how a truck, blacklisted for its involvement in smuggling, was allowed to carry minerals; how the online transit pass was issued and most importantly, how the IMMMS could not detect it; thus pointing an accusatory finger at the Mines and Transport department.