Sundargarh/Bhubaneswar: The Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), in its report, has revealed that iron ore has been found hidden in an area of 2400 cubic metres near Renjda Railway Siding in Koida mining circle in Sundergarh district.
As per the report, Deputy Director of Mines (DDM) and the Railway authorities had shown a site to the IBM officials near Renjda Railway Siding measuring 80 metres in length, 20 metres in width and 1.5 metres in depth where the iron ore was stacked.
As this stack was found to be very compact and hard, digging to this stack was not possible manually. As a result, the exact volume of iron ore hidden underground could not be assessed, the report has stated.
Besides, the report also has mentioned that out of a total of 17 earth samples taken from the site to the IBM’s Ore Dressing Laboratory at Nagpur for chemical analysis to ascertain its constituents, seven of them have found the presence of high grade iron ore.
Apart from this, the report has questioned the modus operandi of the Railway authorities.
Though the Railway authorities had informed about the stacks of iron ore near the siding due to loading and unloading since 2005, they had refused to give this information in writing, stating the reasons that they have not received any instructions from their higher officials. Besides, the Railway authorities had not sought permission on the use of iron ore which was lying outside the siding premises, it said.
Besides, it also said that though the office of the DDM at Koida had directed Rajkumar Dadhichi, owner of M/s Dadhimati Metals and Minerals, against whom there were allegations he had stolen the iron ore from Kolta Mines and the iron ore mine of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and hidden at the said site, was asked to remain present during investigation. But he has ignored the order.
Apart from this, there have been a series of allegations on irregularities against Ramkumar, director and M/s Agrasen Sponge Private Ltd, the report added.
Following the IBM report, senior BJP leader and Union Tribal Welfare minister Jual Oram has urged the state government to initiate action as per rules.
“I will take up the matter with Union Mines minister Narendra Singh Tomar and take further steps in this regard,” he added.
However, Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Mallick has downplayed the IBM report.
“The IBM report has not mentioned about the iron ore hidden near Renjda siding”, he said.
Notably, the Union Tribal Affairs minister, in a letter to Union Mines minister on October 9 this year, had sought a probe into the illegal minerals stacked near Renjda railway siding.
“While the said minerals have been stacked for transportation, there has been no claim of these minerals by anyone”, he had said, adding that the cost of the minerals stacked near the siding would be around Rs 100-120 crore.
He had also requested the Union minister to send a team of IBM officials to probe into the incident and initiate appropriate action in this regard.