Khaira: Abandoned murram and laterite mines on government land in Kupari and Bartana revenue circles under Khaira tehsil of Balasore district have turned into deathtraps. In the last 10 years 30 people have lost their lives falling into these quarries. These perilous quarries have become a cause of concern for the local people.
Reports said huge craters and pits are dug during illegal extraction of minor minerals like laterite stones and murram at several places in these two revenue circles. However, then they are left uncovered.
During monsoon, these mines get filled with rainwater and are not identifiable. So people including children accidentally fall into these water-filled pits and drown. “Most of these quarries are 15 feet deep. Once you slip and fall into the pit, death is certain and there is no escape,” locals pointed out.
Among those who have died are Babaji Patra of Bhudeishola, Nrushingha Charan Sahu of Guapal, Biswadev Dalei of Gadapokhari, Debendra Mallick of Barajodi, Jhunu Bindhani (a student) of Gagua, another student Krishan Das of Gadapokhari, and two children – Ratna Singh of Kupari Adivasi Sahi and Biswajit Naik of Gagua. Biswajit died only a week ago.
Many abandoned quarries are close to Gagua Sevashram School, Barajodi Primary School, Anganwadi centre, Gadapokhari UP School and a Saraswati Sishu Mandir and some other private educational institutions, putting the children’s lives at risk.
“After mining of minerals, quarries are supposed to be filled up or barricaded. But the administration is apathetic towards the issue,” said Bijay Kumar Barik of Gaupal.
Former Zilla Parishad member Kalpana Naik blamed the mafia gangs for the mishaps.
Sarpach Tikirani Sethi said quarries are the most perilous spots during monsoon when locals are really worried about the safety of their children.