Rampant coal theft continues unabated in Lakhanpur and Ib Valley areas under Mahanadi Coal Fields Ltd (MCL) in Jharsuguda district. Local sources alleged that during the night,some trucks are seen loading coal and leaving for railway siding but unloading these vehicles dodge the process by securing mining transit pass and MCL gate pass from the railway siding sources said.
A number of trucks carry tons of coal out to illegal coal depot from where it is transported to brick manufacturing units and other industries in the district.It is alleged that, the weigh bridge clerk, security personnel and local police is also said to be complicit with the coal mafia in the black marketing of coal which is causing a huge loss to the exchequer.
MCL officials and Police Personnel assure every time that necessary action will be taken against such thefts and claim to have deployed ample number of private security personnel. But time and again such allegations surface in local circles and things go back to square one after a temporary lull period.
Not just trucks but even bicycle carriers can be openly seen in broad daylight carrying coal along the road that passes through the local police station. Despite tall claims by the administration and MCL, theft of coal is a regular affair in the district and everyone appears to have tacitly accepted such blatant abuse of tax payer’s money.
It is however true that police administration and security personnel are sporadically seen conducting raids in which action has been taken against some fringe units but the more influential players are never nabbed. While the supply side has numerous leaks, the demand side also goes unchecked by the administration and many local industries located in the district are said to be taking advantage of the black market.
KN Singh, Project Officer Of SOCP (MCL) said that of late, unprecedented number of steps have been taken to curb this menace and in the days to come many more steps will be taken to put a halt on such incidents.