Bhubaneswar: The BJP on Saturday came down heavily on the Odisha government for felling of hundreds of valuable trees from the Jhinkargadi forest near Balarampur village in Dhenkanal district for a proposed beer factory, despite vehement protests by the villagers.
Raising the issue in the State Assembly, leader of the BJP legislature party KV Singhdeo said while the state government has decided to plant trees alongside the riverbanks, on the other hand, it has ordered to cut more than 20,000 valuable trees from Jhinkargadi forest, on the other. “This is a stark testimony of the double standards of the state government,” he pointed out.
Replying to the statement of the BJP leader, Excise minister Sashi Bhusan Behera said that the state government will plant double the number of trees that are felled in the forest.
Stating that the IDCO has allotted the land to the beer manufacturing company, he said there are some portions of the land of the Revenue department near the village where around 600-700 saplings would be planted.
Berating the decision of the state government, social activist Prafulla Samantray said the police have arrested the villagers for protesting the cutting down of the trees in the forest which they have been maintaining for years. “Only a lunatic government can take such decision. We will not allow the beer company to set up its plant in the area,” he maintained.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone for the said project through video conferencing on November 3.
However, the construction work of the project scheduled to begin on November 8 was stopped due to the protest by the villagers.