Truckers decline to ferry ores in Jajpur mines area
Jajpur: The Mineral Truck Association has not been transporting ores for over seven days now following a dispute with the administration over the ‘first-come-first loading system’ adopted by ‘Sukinda Chromite Mining’ in Jajpur district.
The dispute has adversely affected families connected to the trucking and mining businesses.
Sources said that due to the protest by truck owners the transportation of raw materials to companies like VISA Steel, Rohit Feratech and Yajdani Company has become impossible.
As the companies are already suffering due to recession, the managements are firing workers. There is also a possibility of many small firms closing down.
The dispute between big fishes has hit the livelihoods of around 20,000 labourers. Although local political leaders and the administration are aware of the matter, they are keeping off due to fear of influential persons. Sources said a truck association was set up in the mining area for mining labourers, truck owners and the general public. But it was found that truck owners were breaking rules and regulations framed by the administration.
So the administration urged the Orissa High Court to give permission for enforcement of the ‘first-come-first’ rule. The request was accepted by the HC. But some truck owners are not obeying rules framed by the administration.
In the mining area, around `150 crore to `200 crore is extorted from truck owners on an average every year. The money is collected by some members of the Truck Association and labour unions, it is alleged. But members of the Truck Association said the money extorted from them is distributed among local political leaders and officials.
Although Collector Ranjan Kumar Das instructed truck owners to obey the first-come-first rule from August 20, even after seven days they are not doing so.
The administration cannot do anything as the hands of a political leader are behind the matter, it is alleged. There are also rumours that the money extorted from truck owners is going to the party funds of the leader.
In the chromite mining area, around 1,000 six-wheeled trucks and about 200 10, 12 and 14-wheeled trucks are operating. The Truck Association collects `550 from six-wheeled trucks and `1,300 to `1,500 from 10, 12 and 14-wheeled trucks. If the administration implements the first-come-first rule then money cannot be collected from truck owners.
The truck owners of Sukinda, Jajpur, Chandikhole and Kuhika have asked the administration to take quick action regarding this.
When District Mining Officer Asit Kumar Behera was asked about the matter he said the authorities have ordered to apply the first-come-first rule in the mining area. “We will take steps regarding this soon,” he added.