With the tourism season setting in, some roads leading to the Similipal sanctuary in Mayurbhanj district have reportedly been blocked for an indefinite period by activists of Similipal Bikash Parishad, a local outfit working for the development of the area.
As per reports, pressing for a five-point charter of demands, people of three panchayats also joined the agitation by the members of the Parishad and blocked Joranda Chhak, Sana Uski, Chala, and Lanjighosara Chhak.
They have demanded better roads from Kalikaprasad Gates to Gadasimilipal, the establishment of mobile towers inside the Similipal, a concrete bridge across the main road in the sanctuary, road connectivity to all the villages inside the Similipal under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana(PMGSY) and creating scope of employment for unemployed youths of the peripheral areas of the sanctuary.
“All the wooden bridges inside the sanctuary should be replaced with concrete ones,” they demanded.
The members of the Parishad had earlier resorted to a road blockade which was later withdrawn following an assurance from the administration.
They alleged that as their demands were not fulfilled, they had to resort to the road blockade again. Shouting slogans over their demands, one of the agitating villagers warned that the road blockade will not be lifted as long as their major demands like roads and employment are not fulfilled.
Amid the protest, the authorities issued an advisory to tourists on Saturday. “Due to protests by local people, visitors are requested not to proceed to Similipal Nature camps at Barehipani, Kumari, and Gurguria till further information. Other places of Simlipal are open for tourists,” said the Odisha Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Sushant Nanda.