Joda: A decade after the mining scam in 2009 rocked Odisha, the state government and Centre had tightened the noose around the mining mafia but smuggling of iron ores continues unabated in Keonjhar district with the plunderers adopting novel means.
The way miscreants used to smuggle iron ores from Jurudi under Joda mining circles have changed. Earlier, the Mines department had seized thousands of tonnes of unclaimed iron ores and had dumped them at Jurudi railway siding.
However, the ore stocks have started declining as the Mines department has failed to take steps to ensure that the stocks are not looted.
- It is alleged that illegality is taking place with the involvement of transport contractors and ore smugglers
- The contractors entrusted with the task of loading iron ores in the rail rakes of goods trains engage earthmovers to load the dumped iron ores on rakes when there is a shortfall of iron ore in the rail rakes
- Transport challan is received at the railway siding but the truck is asked to move to a particular destination where the ores are sold for a premium
It is alleged that illegality is taking place with the involvement of transport contractors and iron ore smugglers. The contractors assigned with the task of loading iron ores in the rail rakes of goods trains engage earthmovers to load the dumped iron ores on rakes when there is a shortfall of iron ore in the rail rakes.
Locals noticed such illegality Sunday afternoon when they found an earthmover carrying the dumped iron ores and loading it on the rakes of a goods train. On the other hand, the Railways is digging up a trench for construction of a drain at the railway siding.
The contractor has engaged an earthmover to dig the trench and to facilitate it tractors were seen shifting the dumped iron ores elsewhere. It is alleged that these dumped iron ores are later sold off to traders from outside of the state by these unscrupulous contractors.
Similarly, iron ores ferried from mining sites by trucks for transportation by trains are not unloaded at the railway siding.
The transport challan is only received at the railway siding but the truck is asked to move to a particular destination where the ores are sold for a premium, said sources. The transport contractors deliberately reduce the quantity of fresh ores in the rail rakes and fill it up with dumped iron ores, they added.
Later, the fresh ores extracted from mines are smuggled outside for a premium. As a result, thousands of tonnes of iron ores have been stolen over the years leading to loss of crores of revenue to the state government.
The exact amount of revenue loss by the state government could be ascertained if the Mines department makes an assessment of the amount of iron ores dumped in 2009-10 and the present stocks at the railway siding.
A mines official said they would soon undertake a probe and verify the allegations. Meanwhile, locals alleged that the drain construction has affected the forest cover in the area.
When contacted, Keonjhar DFO Dhanraj HD said he has no information regarding such ore theft but very soon he would visit the spot and took stock of the situation.