Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Jajpur/Damgadi, June 6:
Finding of iron ore fines buried in a farmland belonging to a BJD zilla parishad member near the Jakhapura railway siding here in Odisha’s Jajpur district has raised eyebrows hinting at the ruling party’s complicity in grand mining scam in the state.
Following complaints of smuggled iron ore fines buried in a farmland belonging to BJD zilla parishad (zone 10) member Mahendra Dhal located near the Jakhapura railway siding a state-level squad of the Forest, Steel and Mines and Environment departments conducted raids and collected samples from below the soil of the farmland by digging four pits on Friday.
Sources said the squad has estimated the value of the buried iron ore fines worth Rs one crore.
The state-level squad from Bhubaneswar was accompanied by mining officer Asit Kumar Behera from the office of the deputy director Mines (Jajpur) and local police officials.
The investigating team using earth moving machines dug up four pits on the plot on which Dhal has constructed a house and left after collecting soil samples.
“The squad had received complaints that during investigations into the mining scam more than 2500 MT of iron ore fines was buried in the plot belonging to Dhal by digging pits. Following complaints the squad had planned raids and has been successful,” said an official.
However, Dhal has denied the allegations and said that which was being said to be iron ore fines was not actually correct.
“Calling it as iron ore fines is not correct, actually when I was working as a contractor with Visa Steel Railway officials had dumped discarded iron ore fines and soil to fill my fallow land. Earlier too it was investigated however, no irregularities were found,” said Dhal in his reactions to the raids.
Confirming the raids by the squad from Bhubaneswar deputy director Mines (Jajpur) Bijay Kumar Nandi said: “The squad from Bhubaneswar has conducted its investigations and left. They have handed over the samples collected from Dhal’s plot in my office. The truth of the allegations will be ascertained after investigations and testing of the samples is complete.”