Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Resentment is brewing among locals after miscreants cut down many valuable roadside trees reportedly for expansion of road near Jadapala village in Pithabata Wildlife Range under Baripada Forest Division.

Local residents had planted and grown those trees on both sides of the road near Similipal Reserve.

As per reports, around 50 miscreants cut down hundreds of valuable trees on both sides of the road using machines reportedly at the behest of a company which has been given contract for the road expansion work. Though villagers raised objections, their grievances allegedly fell on deaf ears.

“The road was a stretch of greenery that provided shade and fresh air to locals. The trees were a part of the memories of many villagers who grew up in the area. However, hundreds of trees are being chopped down to widen the road. Many trees are being felled unnecessarily,” said Rajkishore Nayak, a villager.

“We had planted those trees and taken care of them like our children. Most of those trees were flower and fruit bearing ones. People used to sit under the bower of those trees and refresh themselves during scorching summer. We were loving and caring those trees as our own children. We had done a lot of hard work to grow those trees. Now, we are crestfallen after the trees were cut down by the miscreants,” said Manohar Nayak, another villager.

Though, the incident happened during night in front of Balidiha beat house, the officials allegedly remained mute spectators. Moreover, the trees have reportedly been cut down without permission from the Forest department and the local forest security committee.

Meanwhile, Baripada Forest Ranger Laxmidhar Behera said that stern action will be taken against the miscreants.

“The trees have been felled without the permission from the forest department. We have launched an investigation into the incident. Stern action will be taken against the miscreants,” said Behera.