Jajpur: Chandikhol crude oil reserve project, which was proposed at Chandikhol area (on foothills of Dankari) under Dharmasala tehsil limits of Jajpur district, is yet to see any progress despite getting Cabinet approval back in June 2018.
Over 20 black stone quarries which were earlier operational within 10km radius of the identified site was shut, following approval of the ambitious project.
It was learnt that the district administration has accorded permission for a new quarry at Dankari hill and over 20 illegal stone crusher units are operational in the area. This has raised doubts as to whether the project will be completed or not.
Earlier, a central team comprising the joint secretary of Union Petroleum Ministry and three others had visited Dankari hill in 2018 May following which the then state Chief Secretary had ordered for permanent closure if the quarries in 2018 March 20. However, the local tehsildar had pointed out that the state government would lose about Rs 1,413.86 crore, if the quarries in this area are closed.
Despite this, the leaseholders were issued notice to close all quarries in conformity with the order of then Chief Secretary in 2018 April 12. Central government had requested the state government to provide 400 acres of land for the purpose.
A social activist had resorted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) as a stone quarry at Kalapathar was not shut. The NGT had asked the state government to submit an investigation report in this connection.
In the meanwhile, a leaseholder has obtained a stay order from the apex court, against NGT ruling. The stay order continues to remain in force.
On being contacted, Chandikhol sub-collector Narayan Chandra Dhal said, “We will execute whatever decision will be taken by the government. There is nothing to be done at the administrative level now.”
It may be mentioned here that the fourth-largest project of its type in the country according to the project proposal, the Chandikhol project was expected to be built at a cost of Rs 3,800 crore with a storage capacity of four million metric tonne fuel. At least, 500 local people would have found employment in the project.