Joda: Not long ago, the multi-crore mining scam in the Joda mining circle of Keonjhar had rocked the nation. The state government carried out investigation of the mining irregularities since 2006.
Between 2006 and 2008, over 400 persons involved in mining plunder had been arrested. Police and the mining department had seized lakhs of tonnes of illegally extracted iron ore in Bansapani, Jurudi, Nayagad, Deojhar, Barbil, Bolani rail siding.
But sadly, those sized minerals have been left to rot as the mines department has not made use of tonnes of seized minerals.
It may be noted here that Justice MB Shah Commission and the Supreme Court-monitored Central Empowered Committee had investigated the mining scam and tendered their report to the SC. The top court had imposed penalty on errant mines and thereafter some mines reopened after paying their fine.
Before the major investigation, the mines department had seized huge amount of illegally extracted ore in different rail sidings. Some amount of seized minerals had been auctioned through the state-owned OMC.
Lakhs of tonnes of seized ore worth crores of rupees have still been left near the rail sidings and on private land. And some amount is under the custody of some lease holders.
Nearly, 45,000 tonnes of ore has been left at Jurudi rail siding while over 60,000 tonnes at Basapani rail siding. There have been no claimants for this ore. From the seized ore, some amount has allegedly been stolen.
Odia daily Dharitri had carried a report about the theft of seized minerals July 14, 2013. Taking serious note of the report, the mines department got on its toes and started an investigation. The state level enforcement squad and the district level enforcement squad had looked into the matter, but failed to make a breakthrough.
Reports said 30,080 tonnes of ore was at Bansapani rail siding; 67,811 tonnes at Jurudi rail siding and 56,300 tonnes at Barbil rail siding. The OMS had sold off some ore through auction while some amount was stolen.
Now, tonnes of seized ore has been left to ruin for lack of proper protection and upkeep. Thus, the government is unable to encash the unused ore which is running over years.
Pellet making plants are making use of iron ore while the department has not thought of using the seized ore. Its misuse has come to the fore Wednesday when tonnes of iron ore were dumped near Bansapani overbridge to road.
Asked about how much ore has been sold and how much has been in stock, Sushant Kumar Nayak, deputy director of Joda mining circle, failed to give a satisfactory reply.
He said he has no data about it, but the then deputy director must have kept records about the seized ore and that was sold out.
Locals have now started smelling a rat in the unused ore and demanded a probe by the state government into the matter.