Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday demanded closure of at least 55 mines in Odisha for alleged violation of environmental laws.

Referring to a report submitted by the Justice M.B. Shah Commission, state BJP spokesman Sameer Mohanty said it is now clear these mines were polluting Baitarani river.

“The commission has identified these mines along the river, which are causing pollution. The government must implement the recommendation of the commission and close these mines immediately,” he said.

If the government did not close these mines, the BJP would be forced to launch a state-wide agitation in the coming days, he said.

Baitarani is one of the state’s major rivers. Considered as the lifeline of millions of people, the river passes through five districts, including the iron-ore rich Keonjhar and Sundergarh.

The commission, appointed by the central government in November 2010 investigated allegations of illegal mining in several mineral-rich states, including Odisha.

Source: IANS