Jajpur/Jajpur Road: A racket has been smuggling charge chrome out of the IDCOL-run ferroalloys plant here.
Reliable sources said security guards detained a truck engaged in carrying charge chrome in the name of hard slag Friday amid allegations that efforts were intensified to settle the matter and hush it up.
It was leant that in the last five days, charge chrome worth Rs 2 crore was smuggled out of the plant site on the plea of selling hard slag.
Some officials are on their toes and trying to suppress the theft with the help of the security officer.
A new treatment plant of HCFC (high carbon ferrochrome) was set up on the plant premises at a cost of Rs 1.88 crore about seven months ago. Large-scale irregularities were allegedly committed in its management and maintenance work. Oriya daily Dharitri had carried a report on the irregularities then. Thereafter, MD Birakishore Sahu was removed from his post and demoted. SK Mohapatra was appointed as MD.
For the last few days, hard slag is being sold for Rs 401 per tonne while it was alleged that ferrochrome was not being treated. Under the guise of selling hard slag, valuable ferrochrome is being smuggled out in trucks, according to the sources.
Some staff of the plant alleged that this plant is only of its kind in the district, but there has been a deep conspiracy to plunge it into crisis.
In the last four years, the plant has suffered a loss of over Rs 7.83 crore, it was learnt. Now, many seek to know why the authorities keep the treatment plant running when it is incurring losses.
The plant authorities have shown an expenditure of Rs 1.88 crore towards setting up of the new treatment plant. However, it was alleged that old machines worth Rs 88 lakh have been installed in the plant.
It is said that the charge chrome smuggling racket has deep roots in the district with influential people being involved.
When contacted, the MD said there is more profit in directly selling the hard slag than selling the treated ferrochrome. However, he denied any report of ferrochrome smuggling from the plant. PNN