Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today ordered immediate stoppage of tree cutting for the proposed beer factory in Balarampur in Dhenkanal and asked the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) to conduct a probe.
The order came a day after the Dhenkanal district administration felled around 500 sal trees in Jhinkargadi forest of Balarampur village in the district to enable a private company to build a brewery despite facing strong protests from locals, especially women.
The administration with the help of police cut down the trees for the proposed beer factory.
The villagers, who were aware of the administration’s plans, lined up in front of the trees since early morning on Saturday and tried to prevent their felling. However, the administration with the help of police forces cut down nearly 500 sal trees.
Jhinkargadi forest has around 5,000 sal trees. Male members of each household in the village patrol the forest to prevent timber mafia from cutting down trees.
Meanwhile, opposition Congress and BJP targeted the Chief Minister for the deforestation for beer factory.
“As per law, trees cannot be cut without Centre’s permission. Trees were felled forcibly in which is illegal and a criminal offence. Why CM is directing for a probe when there is evidence of tree felling,” questioned senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra. Adding that it seems the CM was forced to come up with such directive under pressure.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA Pradip Purohit asked what is the justification of ordering a probe when trees have already been fell.