Keonjhar: Tonnes of murram have been illegally lifted out from a vast swathe of forestland near a hill, about one and half kilometre from Bansapal teshil office in Keonjhar district. Such illegality has triggered a controversy as fuming locals threatened to move the NGT demanding for a probe. A contractor made space for murram mining after felling scores of valuable trees in the area, locals alleged asserting that environment was largely affected with tree felling. A huge sprawling crater that has been created after mining murram will also pose danger to wildlife and humans, the locals expressed concern. Moreover, illegal murram lifting has caused huge revenue loss to the state exchequer, but the fact that officials of the Revenue department were unaware of the large-scale loot of the minor mineral has raised many an eyebrow. Environmentalists and local lawyers have expressed concern over development that has harmed the local ecology of the area. They have decided to take up the issue with the National Green Tribunal (NGT). “The revenue officials of the tehsil should look into the illegal murram lifting from the forest area, measure the extent of loss and impose penalty on those involved in it,” said lawyer Suraj Mohapatra.
Reports said, the contractor was awarded construction work of a bus stand at the Bansapal block headquarters. He has been lifting murram from the area for the construction work. “The massive pits created after lifting of murram will pose serious danger to elephants and other wildlife residing in the area while the local ecology suffered huge loss in terms of tree felling. The state government also lost huge amount of revenue due to illegal murram mining,” Mohapatra said. Locals have demanded stern action against the contractor. Bansapal tehsildar Sapan Sahu said that murram lifting has been stopped while fine will be collected from the contractor. Contacted, DFO HD Dhanraj said that appropriate step will be taken in this connection.