Tensions prevail at Indrani Patnaik Mines in Keonjhar

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By Our Correspondent

JODA/CHAMPUA: Tensions continued to prevail at the Indrani Patnaik Iron ore mines under Joda circle of Odisha’s mineral rich Keonjhar district, sources said on Friday.

Locals are up in arms against Indrani Patnaik Iron Mines demanding blacklisting of the ‘Baba Dhabaleswar Transporting Committee’, a transport agency that has allegedly cheated its members.

Sources said former MLA Sanatan Mahakud had formed a cooperative transporting committee named “Maa Kuaanri” to lift iron ore from the Indrani Patnaik Iron Mines as the lone transporter. Mahakud was also reportedly distributing some parts of the profit to villagers of Unchbali, who were affected by the mining operation.

But being envious of his influence in the politics , the Indrani Patnaik Mines with the help of some  political leaders allegedly adopted a “divide and rule” policy to curtail the influence of Sanatan and picked up one Sanjay Barik to serve the purpose.

Supported by the party in power, Sanjay, who was once said to be a close confidant of Mahakud, held continuous strike in the mines and became able to cease the transporting work with the help of affected villagers. It is alleged that Sanjay had promised the villagers to give a share out of profit more than what Mahakud was giving.

Accordingly, “Baba Dhabaleswar Transporting Committee” with Sanjay Barik as its head and villagers, who broke away from Mahakud, as its members was formed. Then, an agreement was signed between the newly formed committee and the Indrani Patnaik Mines on February 1, 2019 to hand over some parts of Mahakud-led agency’s transporting work to Sanjay-led agency. But dispute started in the committee when Sanjay didn’t give a share of profit to the members.

Villagers held discussions with Sanjay many times in this regard, but in vain. Finally, they sat on a dharna and threatened to cease the transporting work if Baba Dhabaleswar Committee is allowed to transport materials further and is not blacklisted soon.

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