Chandikhole: Parabhadi hill near the world-famous Lalitgiri Buddhist shrine in Jajpur is rich with Buddhist sculptures, but mining of khondalite stone from another area is taking a toll on the hill and its surroundings. The state government has decided to extract khondalite stone from the hill.
Culture lovers and various outfits have expressed concern over such development, saying the entire hill will be destroyed if khondalite stone is mined there.
Reports said, 80 per cent of the Parabhadi hill is spread in Kesaraipur and Bandareswar-Sukhuapada areas under Darpan tehsil while remaining 20 percent is in Lalitgiri mouza under Mahanga tehsil of Cuttack district. Many stupas and sculptures are on top of it which, historians say, were built when Buddhist culture was spread on the hill in around 2nd century BC.
The state government has been carrying out beautification of Srimandir at Puri under Abadha Yojana for which large quantities of khondalite stones are needed.
The Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) has been awarded the work of mining khondalite stones from the hill.
The OMC conducted survey on the hill and it was decided that the hill will be mined for stone. A machine was also brought for cutting stone. Later, mining was carried out in Kesharaipur, but surprisingly the mine was named as Sukhuapoda mine.
After two months of mining, quality stone was not available there. Now, mining was started with machines at Gobindapur in Cuttack. Stones are brought from Gobindapur to foothill of Parabhadi hill where stones are cut and processed.
Though stones are not mined from the hill, hundreds of trees have been cleared from the hill slope, which triggered grave concern among various local cultural outfits. Buddhayan, a cultural outfit, had apprised the district Collector and the Chief Secretary about such unnecessary felling of trees.
President of Buddhayan, Pradipta Kumar Bhuyan also moved the High Court over the issue.
Bhuyan sought to know why a large number of trees were felled from the Parabhadi hill even though no mining was done from Sukhuapoda mine. “Who will pay compensation for the loss of greenery?” he questioned.
Contacted, regional manager of the OMC, Gangadhar Nayak said that the khondalite stone mined from Sukhuapoda mine is brittle and hence stone is being mined from Gobindapur.
But he did not clarify why trees were cleared near the hill.
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