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Odisha: Minister’s Reply On Dankari Hill Disappoints Opposition

20 November 2019

Debashish Maharana

Bhubaneswar: Opposition Members from the BJP and Congress today expressed disappointment over Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi's reply on the adjournment motion "When will action be taken after expose on Dankari hill has revealed extensive revenue loss due to illegal mining of minor minerals". 

Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi in his reply on the adjournment motion moved by Sukant Naik, Mukesh Mahaling, Mohan Charan Majhi, Narasingha Mishra and Tara Prasad Bahinipati said that several steps have been taken to curb illegal mining and transportation of minor minerals.

He stated that squads or task forces have been constituted at district, sub-division and tahasil levels to conduct raids on illegal transporters of minor minerals and added that apart on detection of such transportation penalties upto Rs 5 lakh is being imposed under the provisions of the Odisha Minor Mineral Concession Rules 2016 and vehicles and equipment used in transportation are being seized. Under the abovementioned Rules, the illegal transporter can be fined or jailed for two years and or both fined and jailed.

A section of APR police have been deployed in each of the eight sensitive tahsils and two sub-divisions in eight districts to check illegal transportation of minor minerals, the Minister said.

Marndi said that to curb illegal trade and theft of minor minerals Rs 5 crore and Rs 4,63,68,500 has been provisioned respectively in 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years in the budget for enforcement mechanism.

On the Dankari hill issue the Minister said that extraction of minor minerals has been stopped and Jajpur Collector has submitted a detailed report on it.

He said under the directions of the NGT, a joint investigation committee comprising of representative of the State Pollution Control Board, Jajpur Collector, representative of SEIAA on October 5, 2018 visited the place for spot survey and submitted its report. Basing on the committee's report environment clearance for the black stone quarry of Dankari was cancelled, he added.

Four Enforcement Squads were formed by Jajpur Collector for curbing smuggling of minor minerals from and around the periphery of Dankari hills, Marndi stated.

Moreover, the Minister stated that electricity connection to that place has been disconnected and weighbridge near Dankari hills has been demolished and the road connecting 16 stone quarries in Dankari hills has been dug up.