Bhuba neswar: Dec 21; Claiming that the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) probe has vindicated his charge of iron ore being buried by mafia at a railway siding in Sundargarh, Union Minister Jual Oram on Monday asked the Odisha government to initiate punitive action as per law.
"The report of the IBM team that visited the site at Rangra shows seven of the 16 samples collected by them during the probe having high grade iron ore," the Union Tribal Affairs Minister told reporters.
"Therefore, my allegation that huge iron ore had been buried illegally by the mines mafia stands vindicated and the Odisha government should now initiate punitive actions in accordance with law," Oram said.
The tribal leader, who had written to Union Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in October on the issue, had alleged iron ore had been buried by the mafia in connivance with some officials.
When Odisha's Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Malllick dismissed his charge as wild and baseless citing findings of a field inquiry, Oram had even declared his readiness to quit politics if his allegations were proved wrong.
Following his letter, a team of the IBM visited the site and conducted a probe using various methods including collection of samples from the railway siding area.
Noting that huge volume of commercial grade iron ore lay buried at the Rangra railway siding, Oram said he would also take up the matter with the Centre for action.
Meanwhile, the Wildlife Society of Orissa said in a statement that no action has been taken so far to seal the siding, which reveals alleged nefarious motives of the state government.
It demanded that the entire Rangra siding be sealed by the district collector and police personnel be posted to ensure nobody removes any ore.
All railway staff of the siding should also be moved out, it added.