Nayagarh/Ranpur: Mafia gangs are carrying out rampant mining of murram and laterite stones in Mayurjhalia area under Ranpur tehsil of Nayagarh district despite a directive issued by National Green Tribunal (NGT) to halt it, a report said. Locals said the administration fears to take action allegedly due to pressure from the mining mafia. Some are of the view that the administration, instead of taking action, is actually protecting the mafia gangs.
However, Sub-collector Lagnajit Rout said illegal mining will be investigated and action will be taken against the guilty. Reports said 144.09 acre (Plot No-1689 and Khata No-495) is reserved for gramya jungle in Mayurjhalia area. A part of the land has a cashew plantation and Odisha Cashew Corporation Limited used to lease it out at intervals. The tehsil administration, however, has leased out four acres of the cashew plantation in 2020-21. The leaseholder was accused of doing excessive mining on the land. In the last two years, murram and laterite stones have been extracted from 3 acres of land by felling cashew trees. Inside the cashew forest, there are mining pits as deep as 40 to 50 ft.
Locals have repeatedly been drawing the attention of the Collector, sub-collector, tehsildar, RDC and 5T secretary towards the illegal and excessive mining, but to no avail. Shiba Prasad Raiguru, a local leader, said, “Illegal mining will not be stopped here as officials from top to the bottom are involved in it, resulting in losses to the government. Illegal mining is being run by a well-oiled racket here.” Dillip Kumar Samantray, who had moved the NGT against the illegal mining here, said that cashew forest is being cleared to carry out mining of murram and laterite. “The leaseholder is not filling up the voids created after mining.
Now, the leaseholder is expanding its area by felling cashew trees. The NGT order has failed in curbing illegal mining. The administration is doing precious little.” The sub-collector hinted at the investigation into the issue before a suitable action is taken against the guilty.