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Huge coal haul in Bermo

Bermo administration, led by a gutsy sub-divisional officer, has seized over 3,000 tonne illegal coal worth more than Rs 2.75 crore in the last three months from godowns of several factories allegedly involved in coal smuggling.

Fed up with repeated complaints and after getting confidential reports about several Bermo policemen allegedly shielding coal smugglers, Bokaro deputy commissioner Uma Shankar Singh had summoned the Bermo SDO, Rahul Kumar Sinha, in June and asked him to launch search and seizure operations.

Sinha’s efforts are now yielding results. He said over the last few weeks they had raided several companies, which had licences to produce coal products, but were in fact, running smuggling operations.

“The only work of these plants is to collect illegal coal with the help of smugglers and Maoists and then sell the stock in the open market of Uttar Pradesh, right from Varanasi to New Delhi,” Sinha told The Telegraph.

Sinha said most of these firms, based in Naxalite-infested areas of Mahuatand and Nawadih, were in the possession of proper licences.

But, workers confided in the officials, elaborating how cycle-borne couriers collected coal from the district in the early hours of the morning or the dead of night, and stored stocks in the factory premises.

The stocks were later sent off to Uttar Pradesh.

Asked how such a well-entrenched operation could be carried out for so long, the SDO said it was the job of the police to crack down on the illegal coal business.

“Obviously, there is some lacunae. But, I will continue my mission to check the illegal coal trade in Bermo,” Sinha said.