Tree felling in Dhenkanal rocks Odisha Assembly

Bhubaneswar: Felling of trees to make way for a beer factory at Balarampur in Dhenkanal district rocked the Odisha Assembly today. Even though a directive has been issued by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to stop cutting of trees and cancel the allotment of land for a beer factory, the issue came up for debate in the House after an adjournment motion was moved by Congress.

Both Congress and BJP cornered the ruling party over the issue. Though earlier the Opposition had moved an adjournment motion, it could not be discussed in the House. Following this, the Opposition leader and a team of BJP had undertaken a spot visit to assess the situation.

Today, the Leader of Opposition participated in the discussion and asked how the government gave permission to cut trees as the Supreme Court has clearly stated that trees cannot be felled on forest land without the Centre’s permission.

Besides, Mishra asked why re-plantation of trees was not done and compensation was not paid to locals. “How come the pollution control board gave the permission?” Mishra asked. He also alleged unholy nexus between the beer factory, minister and bureaucrats.

Opposition chief whip, Tara Prasad Bahinipati alleged involvement of an IAS officer’s relative in the matter.

BJP legislature party leader, KV Singh Deo also took part in the discussion and said if the ‘third floor’ has not directed the district administration, then who has given permission for tree cutting.

Replying to the motion, Forest and Environment Minister, Bijayshree Routray, said the industrial estate was set up on the land allotted by IDCO and permission was given to set up the brewery plant in 12.05 acre. “The patch of land was not ‘forest land’ and the DFO had given permission to cut the trees on August 24,” the minister added.