Bhubaneswar: The Mahanadi Banchao Andolan lodged a complaint at the Kharvelnagar police station in the state capital over the ‘illegal’ felling of hundreds of trees along the stretch running from Rabindra Mandap to the Commissionerate Police office for construction of buildings for MLAs in Odisha. The complaint was lodged by Sudarshan Das, convener of the ‘Mahanadi Banchao Abhiyan’ body.
“We have filed a police complaint today. We have requested for an investigation to find out who has given the authorization for felling of trees and whether it is legal or not,” Das told reporters.
Earlier in the day, Das along with members of the outfit and few residents of this city visited the spot where the trees have been cut. They staged a sit-in and demanded that the trees be spared. “We will continue our protests till the felling of trees is stopped,” Das said.
“Even though the city DFO has assured that 10 times of the number of trees felled will be planted, we demand withdrawal of the decision,” the agitating members stated.
Sources informed Monday that the Forest department has given permission to cut down 870 trees against a deposit of Rs 68 lakh as compensation. So far, over 300 trees of different age and species like peepal, banyan, mango, jack fruit and neem have already been cut.
It should be stated here that the trees are being felled for a multi-storied building where MLAs of Odisha will reside. The building will have around 300 quarters and is expected to come up by the end of 2024. A total of Rs 275 crore will be spent on the project and provision for allocation has already been made in the budget.
Sources informed that the Odisha Bridge and Construction Corporation (OBCC) has also been paid an amount of Rs 50 crore for the project in the first phase. The remaining Rs 225 crore will be provided by the Finance Department.