Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rairangpur, August 2:
A team from the Union ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) visited Similipal in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district to probe allegations of rapid and extensive changes in the surroundings of Similipal biosphere reserve.
The team led by Additional Inspector General (AIG) of the Union Environment and Forest department Ravi Kiran Gawekar on Friday visited the mining area of Ghanshyam Misra and Sons iron ore mines at Gorumahisiani. The team made a detailed survey of the lease area of the Gorumahisiani mines.
The team also visited Sanmouda, Badamouda, Katupida and other mining areas.
Gawekar was accompanied by RCCF Anup Kumar Nayak, Rairangpur DFO Arun Kumar Swain and the Gorumahisiani mining inspector during his visit.
Gawekar will be submitting a detailed report to the MoEF on illegal mining beyond the lease area, the extent of effect mining operation has had on traditional water sources and also on the extent and effect of mineral extraction on the local population, said reliable sources.
It may be noted here that complaints had been lodged earlier with the MoEF over rapid and extensive changes in the surroundings of Similipal biosphere reserve.
Even there were complaints of several mines illegally operating within 10 km radius of the Similipal biosphere reserve.
Following complaints of 38 out of 41 mines located within the buffer zone of Similipal biosphere reserve proposals were made in 2002 to halt mining in these areas.
Sulepat hills adjoining Similipal biosphere reserve has four iron ore and manganese mines which extensively affect the biodiversity of the biosphere reserve leading to directives for halting mining operations in the area despite which the Odisha government has not been observing it, sources said.