Padmapur: The mangroves that have been raised along the coast in Basudevpur area of Bhadrak to deter the impact of cyclones, floods and other natural disasters are declining due to lack of patrolling by Forest department to check deforestation.
According to sources, the Forest department has spent crores of rupees on raising the mangroves along coastal pockets like Padhuan, Tentulibadia, Kulakhati Adia, Chudamani, Krushnapur, Kasia, Gopabandhunagar, Binoba Bhave Nagar, Balimunda under Basudevpur block, Karanpalli under Chandbali block and upto Dhamra.
People working on environment and conscious locals alleged that for the last few years people have been stripping off their leaves to feed their cattle while others are chopping off mangrove plants to use them as firewood.
Every day hundreds of people in these areas are doing such illegal and destructive activities to which the Forest department is a mute spectator, it was alleged.
In a few cases, people are caught and fined before being set free.
Lack of protection to the mangroves and their degradation will definitely endanger the marine embankments which have been built to prevent ingress of tidal waves into coastal villages.
When asked, Basudevpur divisional forest officer (DFO) Baikuntha Behera admitted that the department is plagued by staff shortage.
“As the department is struggling with staff crunch, carrying out patrolling in all the mangrove forests is not possible. Stern action will be taken against the people stealing wood and damaging forests in days to come,” he assured.