Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 20:
Union Minister and Odisha Congress campaign committee chief Srikant Jena today alleged that chromite worth Rs 20,000 crore has been looted from the state due to an unholy nexus between chief minister Naveen Patnaik and owners and managing directors of two mining companies, IMFA and Balasore Alloys.
Jena made this allegation through a press release which happened to coincide with the declaration of BJD candidates for seven Lok Sabha seats including his own constituency Baleswar.
The Minister has brought the allegations against IMFA (owned by BJD MP Baijayant Panda and his family), Balasore Alloys (owned by Pramod Mittal) and its former manager Rabindra Kumar Jena, who has just been named as the BJD candidate for Baleswar Lok Sabha seat.
Jena has demanded a CBI inquiry to prosecute these companies and their owners, managers (read Rabindra Kumar Jena ) for their direct involvement in the scam.
“The chromite loot has been thoroughly exposed by the case registered by Maheswar Panigrahi, Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), in the court of JMFC, Jajpur Road on 12 March this year, under directions from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF),” Jena said in his release.
“In the affidavit, the SDM has clearly mentioned that two companies (Balasore Alloys and IMFA) have grossly violated environmental clearances (ECs) and illegally mined nearly 25 lakh metric tonnes of Chromite over the last 10 years, amounting to more than Rs. 20,000 crores in value,” Jena’s release said.
Jena has further alleged that this mega loot of Rs 20,000 crores could not have happened without the patronage and direct supervision of Naveen Patnaik.
“Otherwise, how could thousands of trucks, every night, carry illegally mined ores to Kendrapara (via Jajpur Road, Korei and Dharmasala) and then onto Paradeep Port and also through Balasore to Kolkata and Haldia port, unless influential local politicians are involved in this illegal clandestine operation,” he quizzed.
Alleging that the chief minister has clear nexus with Baijayant Panda and Rabindra Kumar Jena who was recently inducted into BJD, he has demanded the immediate arrest of the owners and managers of these companies and confiscation of all their properties.
“Also, I demand that the mining operations of the companies involved be stopped with immediate effect and taken over by the state, while also recovering the lost Rs. 20,000 crores and investing them in the development of Jajpur, Kendrapara and Balasore. I also demand that the role of both ruling party and some opposition politicians, who are involved in this illegal chromite-ore transport business, be thoroughly investigated,” Jena said.