Odapada: Mineral mafias who are active under Odapada tehsil limits in Dhenkanal get information about raids to be conducted by the district administration well ahead of time, a report said.
According to sources, the mafias share secret information through a WhatsApp group formed for the purpose, including blueprints of administrative raid. Allegedly, some unscrupulous tehsil staffers who have an unholy nexus with local mineral mafias use the app.
The miscreants reportedly get forewarned as to how many officials are to accompany a raiding team, which vehicle the team would use, route map of raid to be conducted, registration number of the vehicle to be used and much more.
This illegal use of WhatsApp came to the fore after an audio of a talk between a local tehsil staffer and mineral mafia went viral. The audio has revealed that a racket is operant behind smuggling of minerals. It even has links to Dhenkanal district.
Notably, Dhenkanal administration of late had prepared a blueprint to conduct raids and issued show-cause to six tehsildars in the district including Odapada tehsildar for their alleged laxity and failure in curbing mineral smuggling.
Odapada tehsil constitutes four revenue circles and is a highly minor mineral-rich area. Black stone that is plentily available here has good demand in the state and outside. Quarrying activities are rampantly going on in the area from the Brahmani riverbed.
Hundreds of mineral as well as black stone-laden trucks are being sent outside the district. Over 15 sand quarries were auctioned in Dhenkanal district and over 100 minor mines secretly operate here, an official of Odapada tehsil revealed seeking anonymity.
Even as local mineral mafias earn handsomely, the state government has been losing revenue of crores of rupees. Most of the times raiding teams return empty handed for disclosure of information.
However, denizens of Dhenkanal have demanded investigation of the viral audio by technical experts. This could help reveal a lot about unholy nexus between officials and mineral mafias, they opined.
Reacting to this, Dhenkanal Sub-Collector Saphalya Mandit Pradhan said, “I have information about an audio which has gone viral. Necessary steps will be taken after discussion with local tehsildar.”