While locals allege rampant coal loot from one of the biggest coal reserves in the country, the mining and police admit the fact but say the situation is not alarming and measures have been initiated to stop the illegal activity.
San Rantia, 80 km from here, under Hemgiri PS, is regarded amongst one of the biggest coal reserves of the country. It is an open cast mine. The availability of coal is very easy here.
“Coal is available just eight to ten inches below the ground and is easy to excavate with small equipment,” said a local Pasupati Nag. According to him, “the coal mafia is very active these days, and are using not locals rather outsiders,” he added.
San Rantia, was amongst those 214 coal beds, whose allotment orders were cancelled by the honourable Supreme Court in 2014. Since then, minor excavation leading minor theft was a regular feature.
However, lately locals claim that this has gone up and now Mafia has entered into the whole operation. This is a big area and is basically unprotected. When this was brought to the notice of Deputy Director Mines in charge at Rourkela Bhagawan Mahanta, he said there were reported cases minor incidents of theft.
“We had received this information from the locals that there were minor theft and it is not possible to check those as those happened somewhere deep inside where only they can reach,”.
However, he denied about rampant theft taking place. “Even we checked the complaints about big machines being used for excavation, and those were found to be false. But, we are keeping our eye on everything and have our teams ready for that,” said the DDM.
Presently the mining patrolling party is keeping close eye on any such development. “We are also in touch with the administration for this and have shouted their cooperation and we have been assured about all help,” said the officer.
Meanwhile, when this was asked to the IIC Hemgiri, Sradhanjali Subudhi she said, “following the ocmplaints form locals we conducted joint raids with the mining departments only four days back and took stock of situation.”
She accepted the joint team found some excavation sites but no signs of heavy machines being used. “The mining departments took stock of entire situation and possession of the coals excavated illegally and were destroyed later,” said the lady police officer. However, she informed that patrolling would be intensified.