Bhubaneswar: Cornering of large number of railway rakes by a single company through a bunch of shell companies has disrupted transportation of minearls from Odisha. As a cascading effect it has slowed down mining operation putting in the mine workers in to hardship during this difficult time of Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a complaint with the Indian Railway, curiously one company -Odisha Metaliks Pvt. Ltd., a group company of Rashmi Groups, has got 62% of rakes as a single consignee in Kharagpur and Chakradharpur division of the Indian Railway.

Joint Action Network of Mines Affected Territory (JANMAT), a Bhubaneswar based NGO, has alleged that Odisha Metaliks Ltd. has cornered most of the Dhamra Port bound railway rakes through its shell companies.

“Due to congestion created by the Rashmi Goup at Dharma port, there is very low allcoation of rakes from Joda, Koira and Barbil mining circles of Kendujhar and Sundergarh Districts in Odisha affecting livelihood of drivers, khalasis and others enaged in mineral transport activities driven by other metal and mining companies,” said Bijay Mishra, Secretary of JANMAT

Mishra, in a letter to the Railway Board Member Traffic, has stated, ” As can be seen from the indent position of CKP and KGP Divisions of S E Railways given in the below table, Orissa Metaliks Pvt. Ltd have got 62 % rakes as a single consignee from different consignors who all are shadow companies of a Rashmi Group. As on date, all the 292 indents are booked in the name of a single consignee Orissa Metaliks in Kharapur to Dhamra section of S E Railways”.

This corroborates that Kharagpur to Dhamra route gets 80 percent of allocation of rakes, wheras Chakradharpur to Dhamra route, on which most of the mining companies in Odisha depend, gets only 20 percent. This adversly impacts the operation of 20 to 25 metal and mining companies in the State drastically affecting the livelihood of more than five lakh wage earners who are critically dependent on transportation of raw material.

As Indian Railways allocates rakes as per a Rapid Allocation System (RAS) wherein one company can place only three indents of the material at a time which belongs to them and in their custody, Rashmi Group managed get most of the rail rakes by placing orders in the name of its shell companies,” said Mishra.