Eviction notices issued to illegal settlers in Bhitarkanika

Kendrapara: The Bhitarkanika National Park authorities have served eviction notices on 71 families settled in the internationally-acclaimed wetland site in Kendrapara district.

"Eviction orders have been issued to illegal settlers in accordance with provisions of wildlife protection act, 1972," Divisional Forest Officer, Manoj Kumar Mahapatra said.

"Those against whom notices were served would have to submit land records to establish legitimate domicile status within a fortnight," Mahapatra said.

After the legal formalities, they would be asked to vacate the land voluntarily or face forcible eviction. The reclaimed land would be used for mangrove regeneration plan, he said.

Nearly 10 acre in the Rupei forest block is under unauthorised settlement with 71 families mostly comprising Bengali-speaking migrants occupying it.

Rupei is the lone village existing within the national park.

Around 4 families had settled after the 1971 cyclone.

Subsequently, there was a steady influx with the number of families swelling to 71.

The park has been accorded the Ramsar wetland site status and been short listed from among 27 sites in the country by UNESCO for world heritage site status.