Baripada: Fifteen stone crushing units near the Similipal National Park have been closed down to curb pollution in the biosphere reserve in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district, an official said on Thursday.

In addition, prohibitory orders under Section 144 were clamped on several areas adjoining the park to ensure a pollution-free environment in the zone, said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Baripada, Swayam Mallick.

The restrictive orders were imposed in Bahalda, Gavei, Balipal, Subarnamanjari, Devagaon, Biprachandrapur and Andia Tikira under Bada Pathara revenue circle and Srirampur under Bholagaria revenue circle on Wednesday, to curb illegal mining, blasting and stone crushing, he said.

Forest officials earlier this week raided 15 stone crushers operating in the area, and found that they flouted pollution control norms in the eco-sensitive zone, the DFO said.

The stone crushing units have been shut down during the operation between Monday and Wednesday, he said.

The district administration of Mayurbhanj has also been requested to take further action to ensure that no illegal mining and stone crushing activities are carried out inside the sanctuary, Mallick said.

The forest department decided to crackdown on the illegal mining activities, after a series of complaints were received from locals as well as environmentalists, forest officials said.

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