Joda: Despite frequent raids by police, forest and mines officials, illegal mining and mineral transportation have not been stopped in Keonjhar district.
In most cases, forest and police officials have been seizing illegally mined minerals in various parts of the district while the mining officials are allegedly clueless about it.
Police cracked down on mineral mafia in Balapani area Wednesday and seized two trucks loaded with illegal minerals. Five people were arrested.
The trucks were seized near a mineral crushing unit. The arrested were produced in court, said Joda IIC Raisan Murmu. A police squad was conducting patrolling late Tuesday night.
Policemen got a tip-off about loading of minerals in trucks behind a filing station. The team immediately raided the area and seized the trucks. Drivers and helpers of the vehicles were trying to flee under the cover of darkness, but police captured them.
Over 50 tonnes of high grade iron ore were loaded on the trucks. The arrested were identified as Hussain Aligaz, Ratan Sardar, Sukumar Karmakar and SK Mosouddin of West Bengal and Sushant Jena of Nandipada police limits.
Sources said an ore crushing unit was permitted o crush lump ore by the mines department to operate in Bansapani area, but iron fines was being transported to the unit instead.
When police caught the illegality, inaction by the mines department casts doubts over the role of the mines department.
Joint director of Joda mining circle Salil Kumar Behera said the crushing unit was only allowed to crush lump ore.