Terming the Orissa government's raids on illegal mining operation as an 'eye-wash', BJP today alleged that 4.5 lakh mt of iron ore worth Rs150 crore was smuggled out of the state last month.
"Though Orissa government claimed to have stopped illegal mining, official record showed that iron ore worth Rs150 crore was smuggled out from Joda in Keonjhar in January, 2010," senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra told reporters here.
The deputy director of mines (DDM), Joda, has wrote to the GRP, Rourkela and Bandhamunda police station in Sundargarh district complaining about smuggling of 63 rakes and 62 rakes of iron ore respectively from Keonjhar district, he claimed.
These 125 rakes of ore were smuggled out of Keonjhar district between January 1 and 23, he claimed adding the complaints were lodged on January 30, seven days after the last consignment left the railway station.
To buttress his point that illegal mining operation was continuing, Mohapatra said while 3.8 mt of iron ore from Orissa was exported through Vizag port in 2007-08, the amount increased to 5 mt in 2008-09.
"Increase in export amount of iron ore itself indicated rise in smuggling of minerals from Orissa", he said holding chief minister Naveen Patnaik responsible for the smuggling of minerals.