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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

In another shocking development for the nature lovers, Odisha government has decided to fell around 200 more trees to widen road from Fire Station square to Munda Sahi square in Bhubaneswar.
Though the State government finally succumbed to the pressure following massive protests from different sections of the society and backtracked on its plan of cutting many old and valuable trees for the construction of multi-storey buildings for MLAs in Bhubaneswar, it has already started the process of felling the trees for the expansion of road.

As per reports, the R&B division has sought permission from the Enviornment Department to cut those trees in the vicinity of CRPF campus. Moreover, the process for felling has already been started by numbering those trees.

However, the local denizens including temporary vendors have expressed their resentment over the development.
“The government should provide permanent shops to the temporary vendors along the road before felling the trees for the expansion of road,” said a temporary vendor.

“We are not against development. But it should not happen at the cost of axing old and valuable trees. The government should translocate the trees and create new plantation projects at other places before undertaking the development work,” said Sushant Kumar Jena, a local denizen.

The trees to be axed have been planted under forest category land. As per the existing law, the trees from the forest land can’t be cut down before the change of its category. However, the government has reportedly not yet even applied to change the category of the land.

Meanwhile, members of the Mahanadi Bachao Andolan (MBA) have raised their voices against the move and vowed not to allow the felling of trees in the area. 
“The process for the feeling of trees has already been stated. However, it’s a gross violation of law. We strongly protest against the move,” said MBA convener Sudarshan Das.

On the other hand, as per Chandaka Forest Division, permission has reportedly been sought for the felling of trees, but they have not given clearance in this regard.

 “We are reviewing various aspects after receiving the application. Permission has not been given yet for felling of the trees,” said Chandaka DFO Mohammad Jammil.

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