Jajpur: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notices to the state government on a petition seeking intervention against alleged illegal construction by a private company over a forest land in Kalinganagar of Jajpur district.
The petition was filed by Kalinganagar Paribesh Surakshya Samiti February 4, 2019. Members of the samiti alleged illegal construction was going on over 12 acres at Jakhpura area under Danagadi tehesil by changing the nature of the land from forest to non-forest by Sizer Engineering Ltd. The land is being used for development of a logistics hub for local industries. NGT’s Principal Bench (New Delhi) had taken up the petition October 9, 2019 and advocate Rahul Chaudhry and Sankar Pani argued the case for the petitioner.
A bench comprising SP Wangdi (judicial member) and Dr SS Garbyal (expert member) issued notices returnable within three weeks to the state government and posted the matter to November 25. In its order, the bench directed Jajpur Collector, Divisional Forest Officer, Jajpur and Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) to jointly inspect the area, verify the factual position at the site and submit a report. The tribunal has appointed the OSPCB as the nodal agency for coordination and providing logistics support.
In the complaint, the petitioner mentioned that a logistic hub was under construction on the government land (plot no: 865 and 867) at Jakhapura area. The 11.97 acres come under Kisam Sal Jungle land.
The petitioner also claimed that no forest clearance had been sought from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Consent to establish the logistics hub had also not been sought from the State Pollution Control Borad (SPCB). The operation of the logistics hub planned in the area would bring in air, noise and water pollution due to handling of ores and other materials, the petitioner alleged.
The logistic hub does not satisfy the terms and condition issued in Forest Conservation Act 1980, added the petitioner.
Sources said, illegal construction is going on near the Biju Patnaik Marg where the construction company has filled up the historic Biju Patnaik reservoir by putting 20,000 trips of ash. Farmers of nearest locality were depending upon the reservoir.
The petitioner has sought direction to the Collector to demolish the boundary wall and remove electric poles, transformers and other structures from the forest land. Exemplary penalty should be imposed for changing the nature and character of jungle land and for extracting soil and groundwater, said the petitioner.
When asked, Kalinganagar SPCB regional officer Pramod Kumar Behera said,“We have not received the notice of the NGT yet. After receiving the notice we will look into the matter and take action accordingly.”