Jajpur: As directed by the Lokayukta, the Vigilance department, investigating illegal stone mining and the extent of mineral loot at Bichhakhandi hill in Dharmasala area of Jajpur district, will submit its report to the Lokayukta October 28, it was learnt.
Some officials involved in the loot of minor mineral are likely to get entangled in the case. “Some former tehsildars, a sub-collector and an ADM (revenue) and other officials will be exposed,” claimed RTI activist Sarbeswar Behura.
Before the Vigilance submits its report, Behura, a complainant on the mineral loot issue, has submitted the details of the alleged irregularities at the Vigilance Directorate Saturday.
It may be noted that the chairperson and members of the Lokayukta had held a hearing on the mineral loot from Bichhakhandi hill with regard to case-12/2021 filed by Behura.
The Lokayukta had directed the Vigilance, Cuttack, to look into the mineral loot and file a preliminary report within two months.
For the last several months, the Vigilance had conducted an investigation in the hill area, but it was alleged that the tehsil administration of Dharmasala did not cooperate in the probe.
Thereafter, DSP Vigilance Cell (Cuttack) PK Dwivedi had asked Jajpur Collector to direct the officials of Dharmasala tehsil to demarcate the lease area on the Bichhakhandi hill. With intervention of the Collector in the matter, the demarcation process was completed.
Then, the Vigilance officials intensified the investigation with the help of officials of the Odisha State Pollution Control Board, mines and forest departments. Vigilance officials visited the hill seven to eight times.
After this, the Vigilance has prepared its preliminary probe report and is going to submit it to the Lokayukta. Of 890 acres of forest land on the hill, forest has been destroyed in 75 acres due to mining.
Huge quantities of stone were excavated. Besides, stone crushing units have been set up on the forest land. In 2020, two labourers had died while working in stone mines. Their death had been suppressed, it was alleged.
The RTI activist alleged stone mining is being carried out in the hill with the help of the administration over last ten years. Dharmasala tehsildar Swagat Das was contacted over phone on the issue, but he could not be available.