Bantala: In spite of most Odisha government departments stating that permission hasn’t been given for felling of trees in sanctuaries, the act is being carried out in Angul district in gross violation of the Wild Life Protection Act 1972.
Currently the expansion of the Kusakhali-Tikarpada state highway is underway. To build a side lane adjacent to this road trees are being felled illegally. The area falls under Tikarpada range in Satkosia Sanctuary under Purunakote police limits.
The firm entrusted with the construction of the road has said that it has been given permission by the Forest Department to fell the trees. However, officials of the firm failed to show the written order.
Sources said along with the expansion, some culverts on the PWD road, which passes through the Satkosia Sanctuary, are also being built. They alleged that government land in the area could have been used for the purpose. However, trees are being uprooted in gross violation of the existing laws.
According to the Wild Life Protection Act 1972, trees and water reservoirs inside any sanctuary cannot be damaged or destroyed. Anyone carrying out such acts will be punished.
When contacted, Regional Chief Conservator of Forest (RCCF) Pradeep Raj Karat expressed his concern. He informed that he has already written a letter to PWD and also directed Satkosia DFO Ramaswami P to take action against those who are felling trees.
Satkosia DFO Swami asserted that permission hasn’t been granted for uprooting of trees. He warned of stern action against perpetrators of the crime. PWD SDO Binay Kumar Padhi also had the same point to make.
Clarifying the matter, the manager of the construction firm, Anand Raul alleged that since private land owners adjacent to the Kusakhali-Tikarpada road had refused to cooperate they had no option but to cut trees on government land. However, he informed that the firm had only received verbal permission and not a written one from the Forest Department.