Forest personnel have taken a 52-year-old man and his
son into custody on charge of causing destruction to mangrove species and
felling forest species in protected forest areas in Kendrapara district.
The intruders were intercepted inside Batighar reserve
forest areas under Mahakalpada block while they were pulling down standing
mangrove and other classified forest species. Implements used by the arrested
persons to pull down the trees were seized on the spot. Forest personnel also
made a seizure of a mechanized speed boat which the offenders had anchored at
the nearby creek to ferry the logs.
In a drive since past one year, 70 people have been so
far been arrested for felling trees within the protected area. Following
stepped up vigil by forest patrol teams, incidents of tree felling have
considerably come down.
The offenders- Pravash Jardar (52) and his 22-year-old
son Bijoy Jardar- were later remanded to jail custody today 29 March 2017 under
section 4, 14 and 21 of Forest conservation act, 1980 and various other
provisions of Wildlife protection act, 1972. Axes, other form of tree cutting
tools besides nylon ropes were seized from their possession, said Divisional
Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, Mr. Bimal
In a related development, Bhitarkanika National Park
authorities have launched a drive in evicting the squatters from the reserve
Over fifty cases have been registered against
several other unauthorized occupiers under forest law.
Unlawful settlers have also been evicted from mangrove
forest area, said officials.
The forest areas mainly in Mahakalpada forest range
where the tail end of the Mahanadi river system meanders through and crisscrosses
by innumerable water-inlets, had come under human encroachment. Temporary mud
walled structures had come up. Patches of land had been occupied by a
section of fishermen community. In the occupied forestland, prawn dykes had
come up as it was conducive for such activity due to ingress of saline water.
But these areas have now been made encroachment-free following periodic raids
by forest department personnel, said officials.
Special squads constituted for intercepting wildlife
offences are also keeping close watch on illegal fishing in water bodies and
creeks within the national park.
“Fishing activity within the water-bodies of the
wildlife sanctuary and national park is a cognizable offence. The forest
department has stepped up its vigil on any act of trespass into prohibited
territories to ensure the safety of flora, fauna and the fragile eco-system of
Bhitarkanika”, added DFO Mr. Acharya.