Boinda: Illegal and mindless blasting for extraction of stones from hills inside the Brundabanpur Khesada reserve forest along National Highway-55 under Kishorenagar block in Angul district has resulted in development of cracks in over 75 houses in adjoining Brundabanpur and Padmapur villages apart from severe air pollution in the area.
Residents of Gurjang villagers alleged that the Kishorenagar tehsil authority has not given any permission for the stone quarry. However, the revelation came after the villagers filed an application under Right to Information (RTI) Act which suggests that the tehsil authorities have denied giving permission to any person or agency for stone extraction from Khesada jungle.
Kishorenagar tehsildar Shantiswaroop Mishra ruled out any illegality stating that permission has been given for establishment of the stone crusher unit five years back. He, however, said that he is not aware of the actual reason that led to development of cracks in the houses.
This has surprised many as they questioned if permission has not been given for stone extraction from the hill through blasting then how the agency could carry out such works for the last five years. It is alleged that officials of Kishorenagar tehsil are allegedly facilitating such illegality after receiving a huge amount of money as kickbacks.
The matter came to the fore after residents of Padmapur and Brundabanpur, two of the affected villages visited the district Collectorate in Angul Tuesday and lodged a complaint with the district Collector. They also forwarded copies of their complaint to the chief minister, state revenue minister, 5T secretary and Athamallik MLA.
In their complaint, the villagers alleged that a consultancy agency that owned the bid for construction of National Highway-55 connecting Cuttack and Sambalpur had established a stone crusher unit near Gurujang in December 2017. The villagers had then objected to the establishment of the stone crusher unit but the administration granted permission for the establishment of the unit.
A villager Akshaya Nayak of Padmapur said that they are not able to sleep at night due to the deafening sound emerging from the jungle due to the blasting of explosives. Moreover, their farmlands have been enveloped with fine particles of stones emerging from the hill and the crusher units. This has destroyed farmlands and their fertility, he alleged.
Sarpanch Sulochana Veer alleged that many villages in the vicinity have been affected and the illegality is being carried out by the agency in connivance with the tehsil officials. She said the water bodies have become polluted and people as well as livestock after drinking such water are developing various diseases.
The permission was only for the stone crusher unit but the consultancy agency had taken up area on the nearby hill and was conducting blasting to extract stone at the crusher unit. The locals had then lodged several complaints in this regard but their pleas were never entertained.
Nowadays, the agency conducts blasting on the hills in Khesada jungle near Brundabanpur village and smuggles stones outside. As a result, over 35 RCC-built houses of the villagers in Brundabanpur village and 40 houses in Padmapur village have developed cracks. Every day, the agency people are blasting on the hill either at late night or in the afternoon to extract stones for the quarry.
–Post News Network
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