Members of the Aligadda Workers' Welfare Society (AWWS) have claimed that they were eyewitness to the theft of iron ore seized by the Forest Department at Karwar port and alleged change of grade of the seized ore.

Addressing presspersons in Karwar on Saturday, Bhavana Patil of the AWWS said the seized iron ore was removed under the direct supervision of the port officials.

According to Ms. Bhavana, on the day of seizure some port and forest officials had arrived at the spot at Aligadda.

The AWWS members who live in the surrounding areas immediately converged on the spot.

The forest officials seized and covered the ore with plastic covers, and marked it with lime. Some poles were placed surrounding these stacks, she added. On the same night a few people came in several lorries and removed the cover of the seized ore. Then, it was shifted to some other spot and low-grade ore probably the red soil was allegedly dumped on the original spot of the seizure. This incident was brought to the notice of the forest officials, she added.

Officer-bearers of AWWS Prema Gouda, Gulabi Gouda, Lakshmi and Kusuma were among those present.