Staff Reporter

To facilitate verification of mineral transportation records

State-level enforcement squad to carry out the verification in detail

Naveen government facing embarrassment in mining scam

BHUBANESWAR: The State government on Friday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC at Banspani Railway Siding in mineral-rich Keonjhar district restricting transportation of minerals by trains.

The orders were clamped to facilitate verification of mineral transportation records in Indian Railways as well as mining directorate.

“It is a blanket prohibition that was imposed at Banspani. State-level enforcement squad under the Department of Steel and Mines along with Keonjhar district administration will carry out the verification in detail.

Till the completion of checking, no ore transportation by trains from the siding will be allowed,” Debajani Chakraborti, district magistrate of Keonjhar said.

She made it clear that the verification drive would be independent of vigilance department inquiry ordered into irregularity in mineral trade.

“We have requested railway authorities to be present at the meeting convened on March 8. Our efforts would be to know as to how much ore had been transported from the district by trains and who are the consigners and how long the transportation of mineral has been going on,” said Ms. Chakraborti.

The Keonjhar district magistrate, however, refused to give a time-frame by when the restriction would be lifted. “We are trying to investigate into mineral trade in the district.

Those who are involved in legal trade could carry on after the process is over,” she said. Officials of directorate of mines had been camping at the site for investigation.

Despite tasting huge success in running government in Orissa for past 10 years, Naveen Patnaik government is currently facing embarrassments over multi-thousand-crore mining scam. Involvement of political bosses to top bureaucrats is apprehended in the scam.

Vigilance claim

The Vigilance Department has claimed to have stumbled upon the evidences showing mineral mostly iron ore worth hundreds of crores were taken out of Keonjhar district clandestinely and illegally.

Assembly session

Imposition of prohibitory orders was made ahead of a brief session of State Assembly beginning from March 8 during which the ruling party was expected to face barrage of criticism from opposition parties over mining scam.

The Steel and Mine Department is often accused of remaining silent spectator to alleged looting of minerals from districts like Keonjhar and Sundargarh.