Bhubaneswar, Jan 31:
Armed with Justice Shah Commission report, which has indicted the state government for facilitating illegal mining in the state, the state BJP today demanded the immediate closure of 55 mines in the catchment areas of the Baitarani river to ensure the safety of the river.
“We demand the cancellation of the lease for 40 leaseholders holding leases for 55 mines along the river Baitarani area. If the state government does not take necessary action to safeguard the river, the BJP will launch a state wide protest. Environmentalists, social workers, activists and others too will be roped in for the purpose,” said senior BJP leader Sameer Mohanty in a press statement.
The agitation will be launched after the visit of Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to address a convention in the capital city on February 11, said Mohanty.
Stating that the river is the lifeline of 48 blocks, spanning five districts, he said Baitarani is now in an alarming state due to the rampant mining in its catchment area.
The 55 mines which are affecting the river have already been identified by the Shah Commission of Inquiry. The closure is to be included in the action taken report submitted by government of India.
“In this context, the fate of the river Baitarani, its tributaries in the area and other water bodies now lies with the state government. The Naveen Patnaik led BJD government is not taking any action in implementing the recommendations of the Shah Commission because it hopes to raise funds from the companies to be affected,” he alleged.