Illegal saw mills busted in Konark

Puri: In a significant blow to illegal saw mill business flourishing in several areas of the district, the forest department officials today conducted simultaneous raids at four saw mills in Tulasipur area of Nimapara and seized machinery worth lakhs besides valuable timber.

Acting on a tip off, officials of Puri Forest Division including the Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF), Officers of Astarang, Gop, Konark ranges, local Tehsildar, other forest and police personnel conducted simultaneous raids at four saw mills in Tulasipur and its nearby areas.

Owners of the saw mills fled from the spot following the raid, said sources.

ACF, Rabi Naranayan Mohaptra said valuable timber of various trees like Sal, Teak worth over Rs 2 lakh were recovered. Machineries used for cutting and timber processing were also seized.

Locals alleged that hundreds of illegal sawmills are operating in the district right under the nose of the Forest Department.

Meanwhile, forest officials warned that the illegal business will be dealt with seriousness.

“We will continue to conduct such raids in coming days. We find that the timber merchants are able to get electricity connections to operate their business. Such connections will be immediately stopped. Henceforth if we find such illegal electricity connections for timber production which is a clear violation of norms we will take stringent action against the culprits,” ACF, Rabi Naranayan Mohaptra said.