Jajpur, August 1 (LocalWire): The authorities today sealed a stone crusher unit and seized two stone crusher machines, two trucks, three excavators from Aruha hillock under Dharmasala tehsil in Jajpur district on charges of illegally continuing stone-quarrying.
‘We conducted raids at Aruha hillock and seized the vehicles, excavators and crusher machines for illegal excavations,’ said Saroj Kumar Panda, tehsildar of Dharmasala.
‘Truck and tractor drivers were illegally transporting minerals without obtaining any transit passes from the authorities under Odisha Minor Minerals Concession Rules 2016.
We will collect proper fines from them under the law,’ he added.
The village roads near many illegal stone crusher areas are in bad condition due to plying of heavy vehicles laden with stones,’ said Maheswar Das of Dharmasala.
‘It is impossible for us to use the village road as it is replete with potholes as each day several vehicles carrying stones from the nearby hillocks pass by.
Looking at the condition of the road, who will believe that two years ago, it was repaired? asked Jatindra Behera of Aruha village.
‘A decade back many of these hillocks were our water source but the quarry mafias denuded and flattened the hillocks by carrying stones as result we are facing acute water shortages, added Behera.
Many locals alleged that with the demand for stone increasing to meet the rising demands of construction of houses, the stone-quarry activities have gone up considerably in the district and its nearby areas.
Local goons and contractors have been illegally quarrying many hillocks but the authorities are not taking any steps against them.
Ranjan Kumar Das, the district Collector of Jajpur said, ‘The district administration formed a squad comprising tehsildars, BDOs, labour officials and police to check the quarry units and take action against illegal quarrying. We have sealed around 260 illegal stone quarries and crushers in the district.’