Dharmasala: The Jajpur district administration on Monday began a raid on the Dankari hill under the Dharmasala block to stop alleged illegal mining.
Reports said the raid is underway under the direct supervision of the district collector, sub-collector, SP and the additional district magistrate (ADM) in presence of the officials of the Forest and Environment, Mining and the Energy department and the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) of the Jajpur branch.
Apprehending law and order situation, three platoons of police have been deployed in the area while the prohibitory order under Section 144 has been clamped around the hill area.
As informed by the district collector, mining activity was going on in 16 areas in the Dankari hill forest area of which four areas were granted for mining operation by the OSPCB. “All the mining areas, including the four for which the OSPCB had granted permission, will be sealed,” he added.
Apart from this, the raid is being conducted on some large crusher units set up in the mining areas. The officials are verifying the documents of these units.
It may be recalled that acting on the allegation by Sarbeswar Behura, an RTI and social activist of Jajpur had met Governor Ganeshi Lal at Raj Bhawan on September 7 this year and submitted all the relevant documents relating to the illegal extraction of minor minerals in the Dankari hill forest area and their transportation.
After going through the documents, the Governor on October 5 had directed the additional chief secretary, Forest and Environment, to probe the matter and take necessary action.
Prior to this, Behura had moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking a direction to the state government to stop illegal mining in the area with immediate effect. The green panel had then directed the state government to form a special committee for an inquiry into the matter.
The Union Joint Secretary of Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry Sunjay Sudhir had a meeting with the chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi in Bhubaneswar on September 4 to discuss the initiation of the underground oil reservoir project in Dankari hill forest area.
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on April 12, 2014, had announced the setting up of the project. However, there has been an inordinate delay as the state government has failed to acquire 400-acre land in the Dankari hill forest for the purpose.