Bamra: Hundreds of trees have been felled and many are to be copped off by a contractor engaged for the Jarabaga-Sargidihi road construction under Jarabaga panchayat in Sambalpur district.
Sources said the Jarabaga-Sargidihi road is under construction. Gaurav Construction has been engaged for this project by the PWD department.
The contractor is indiscriminately felling roadside trees for this project. Even as the local people have taken up the matter with the forest department, no action has so far been taken against the contractor, corroborating the people’s speculation that the firm is hand in glove with some forest officials.
Similarly, for a diversion road necessitated for a culvert near Sargidihi, a good number of valuable trees have been axed. There is a forest beat house under Bamra range on this road, but the forest officials seem to have closed their eyes to the wanton felling of trees. Here too, the unholy nexus between the forest department and the firm is under public scanner.
When contacted, forest ranger Biswanath Meher took the allegation lightly and in a way favouring the contractor, he said, “The trees are felled by the villagers and cases will be registered against them.”
Expressing astonishment over the ranger’s reaction, villagers said the forest department is finding easy target in villagers to shield the contractor.