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Devbrat Patnaik

Dhenkanal: Former MP Baijayant Panda today carried out a plantation drive in Jhinkargadi forest in Balarampur of Dhenkanal district where felling of trees for a beer factory had triggered massive protests a few days back. He was accompanied by former MLA Nabin Nanda and many of his supporters.

Expressing his gratefulness to the villagers of Balarampur, particularly the women who have been protecting the trees for years and protested the felling, Panda urged CM Naveen Patnaik to initiate action against those responsible for the deforestation.

The former MP said, "Everyone knows that the 3rd floor officer is carrying out many illegal activities and in the past 4-5 years, there has been a steep rise in corruption and cases of violence in Odisha. Now since the villagers have blamed the officers of the 3rd floor for this large-scale deforestation, the CM should stop being dependent on the officer and take stern action against the erring officials."

He further stated, "This plantation drive is symbolic. As per the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management And Planning Authority (CAMPA) rules, thrice the number of trees to be felled should be planted much ahead of carrying out deforestation, which was not done in this case."

Asked on the report of RDC on the felling of trees, Panda commented, "Even they have not spared Lord Jagannath in Brahma Paribartan, the reports of which are yet to be revealed. What's the result of initiating a probe against the common people."

Meanwhile, three unidentified miscreants suspected to be residents of a nearby village opposed the former MP while he was undertaking the plantation programme. While two of them managed to flee the spot, one was caught and thrashed by locals before being handed over to the Balarampur police.

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