Jajpur/Kabatabandha: The administration has allegedly failed to contain plunder of minor minerals like black stone in Dharmasala block of Jajpur district, resulting in huge revenue loss to the Odisha government. Reports said that 20 illegal stone quarries are still operational in different hills including Dankari, Kunubara, Kusunpur, Baghua, Rahadpur and Chargotha.
As per the investigation report of Balang revenue inspector (RI), stone mafia have been carrying out illegal quarrying by occupying 456.34 acre forest land in Bichhakhandi, Anjira and Kusunpur areas.
Such illegal activities have been going on since 2019. The then Dharmasala tehsildar Saroj Kumar Panda in his letter-989, March 28, 2019 and in another letter 461, February 7, 2019 to the Cuttack DFO had pointed out the ecological imbalance and rampant tree felling in these areas.
However, due to political interference and pressure from black stone traders, the forest land had been leased out. Environment has degraded to a great extent and biodiversity is at stake due to rampant mining, locals said.
Upset over this problem, people of Balarampur had moved the Orissa High Court, but it made difference to stone mafia.
It has been alleged that illegal stone mining is still being carried out on plots 1848; 1856; 1876; 1872; 1871 of forest land in Bhichhakhandi area.
Similarly, stone mining is going on at plot numbers – 1729 and 1477 of forest land at Anjira. Stone mafia are also carrying out mining on plot numbers 1358, 1366, 1527 and 1556 of reserve forest land at Kusunpur.
Besides, there are four such stone quarries at Rahadpur hill; one at Dankari hill; three on Lunibar hill; two on Baghua hill and three on Chargotha hill, locals alleged.
They alleged that though they had drawn the attention of the tehsildar, no action is being taken against the mafia. They said that tehsil officials are hand in glove with the stone mafia.