Dilip Kumar

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has ordered eviction of illegal prawn gherries at Chilika, Bhitarkanika and other eco-sensitive wetland areas in Puri and Ganjam district.

While directing the Collectors of the convened district to execute the decision taken at the meeting chaired by State Chief Secretary recently on illegal prawn gherries, the court has also asked the authorities to destroy the seized materials and machineries from the violators apart from filing criminal cases against them.

The directive comes after hearing into a case registered suo motu by the court on the basis of Supreme Court’s order regarding protection of wetlands.

“The High Court has ordered the Collectors of the respective districts to register criminal cases against the violators in this connection. The Court had also previously ordered to file cases, but no action was taken,” Mohit Agarwal, who has been appointed as Amicus Curie in the case said.

The eviction of illegal gheries is supposed to be completed by May 2021 in Kendrapara, Ganjam and Khordha districts and by the end of this year in Puri. The illegal prawn gherries spread over around 30,000 acres of areas, he added.

The meeting which was presided over by the Chief Secretary has decided to grant necessary amount of funds from Revenue and Disaster Management department. The funds should be provided to the collectors of Kendrapara, Khordha, Ganjam and Puri. One platoon of police force will also be provided to each district during the eviction drive to maintain law and order.

It was also decided in the meeting that the eviction exercise will be videographed and Amicus curie will be briefed about the drive.
A meeting through video conference will be held on every Friday to review the progress of the work.

The meeting which will be chaired by the chief secretary will be attended by Advocate General, officials of Chilika Development Authority (CDA), Collectors and SPs of four districts.