KORAPUT: Barely three weeks after being appointed as Koraput Collector, IAS officer Poma Tudu has been shifted. She is now transferred and posted as Collector of Nayagarh.
Her transfer comes close on the heels of agitation in Kodingamali where local tribals have stalled transportation of Odisha Mining Corporation’s bauxite for nearly 10 days. On Friday, Tudu had finally managed to resolve the stalemate but was shifted out the same evening.
Leased out to OMC, mining at Kodingamali has been facing resistance for the last three years. The bauxite mining and transportation has been assigned to Mythri Infra, a Visakhapatnam-based firm.
However, villagers have been up in arms protesting pollution caused by the transportation. They also allege that release of effluents has contaminated the water resources and damaged crop fields. Agitators have been seeking conduct of gram sabha for the mining project, which they claim was never done.
Tudu, the first tribal woman Collector of Koraput, is believed to have been judicious in her handling of the issue given the sensitivity of the matter and concerns of the tribals.
Kodingamali, the first bauxite deposit to be developed in decades has been mired in controversy ever since the State threw its weight behind the project. In a bid to provide raw material to Vedanta’s alumina refinery, Odisha Government had turned its attention to this lease lying with OMC for decades.
Despite their consent to the project, locals had found themselves on the wrong side of the law. Two years ago, police had arrested five persons who they claimed had torched infrastructure resisting the mining project.
For a Government which claims to be championing tribals’ cause, Tudu’s transfer comes with a pattern for Koraput where 17 collectors have been posted in past 19 years ignoring development of the district.
Although on an average, each collector served for around a year and half, Tudu lasted barely three weeks. She had taken charge on July 12 last replacing K Sudarshan Chakravarthy.
Interestingly, she had experience in Koraput where she served as Sub-Collector of Jeypore sub-division and was in additional charge of District Project Coordinator of Sarva Sikhya Abhiyan in 2015.
A senior lawyer of Koraput Bar Association Gupteswar Panigrhi criticised the decision of the Government saying Tudu was under pressure of the mining contract company that is engaged in raising bauxite from Kodingamali.