RENGALI (SAMBALPUR): Resentment is brewing among the villagers of Jambahal village in Brahmanipali Mouza under Katarbaga panchayat of Rengali block in the district over permission to mine quartz from village forest.
Despite opposition to mining by the villagers during a public hearing held in the village earlier this year, the officials went ahead with mining.
The activity came to light when the firm, to whom the mine has been allotted began felling trees in the forest in September.
Following stiff opposition, the contractor Fakir Rohidas stopped ground work.
The situation flared up again when Rohidas accompanied by SDPO Utkal Keshari Das, Rengali IIC Mihir Panda and Katarbaga IIC Sudam Charan Mallick visited the village on November 29 to resolve the issue. This angered the villagers and they refused to budge from their stand as the forest is the only source of livelihood for them.
On the other hand, villagers of Chuhikikata under Jhankarpali panchayat in Rengali block are also up in arms against the Government against approval for Kaolinite mining, more popular as China Clay in the village.
Except large scale pollution, locals claimed that they have failed to reap any benefit from the big projects that have come up in the area.
Citing one instance, the villagers alleged that run off water from the mines has damaged their standing crop.
One Jhasketan Dhurua of Chuhikikata said his livelihood depends on returns from agriculture but extensive damage to crop in his six acres due to the water from mines has left him devastated.
He sought adequate compensation and petitioned Collector Balwant Singh and Rengali Tehsildar Sushama Bilung in this regard. Dhurua has threatened self-immolation if he is not provided with due relief.
Bilung said she had called mine owner Prabir Ghosh for a discussion and assured Jhasketan of compensation against crop loss.