Odisha forest department has put brakes on
deforestation exercise and felling of standing trees including mangrove species
from the core area of the Paradip port.
Trees are being pulled down to create
space for infrastructure development projects. Cargo storage plots would come
up at the deforested area, said an official of Paradip port
Trust. Taking exception to the deforestation activities, the state
forest department stalled the tree-felling exercise along the seaside mangrove
cover near the Nehru Bangala rest house.
“We have stopped the tree-cutting as it is
being done in an illegal manner. Earlier this year, the port authorities had
committed similar act. A case under section-27 under Orissa Forest Act, 1972
had been registered against PPT then. As the port is found to have committed
repeated offence, fresh case would be registered against them and we would seek
for issuance of non-bailable warrant against the port officials who ordered for
clearance of forest species trees”, said Kujang Forest Range Officer, Pratap
The standing trees were classified-forest
species. The port should have obtained prior permission before cutting down the
species. Forest clearance is mandatory before any form of deforestation
activity even within the core area of the port. However the port erred and did
not obtain the required permission, informed the official.
Forest clearance exercise was being
carried out to establish multiple cargo stockyards at the old CISF complex. The
stockyard project formed the part of ongoing expansion project of the port. As
there is shortage of space at the operational stockyards at present, multiple
stockyard has become imperative keeping in view growth in port traffic and
cargo handling, said port officials.
After the CISF complex was shifted to
Sandhakuda area of port town, the old complex with vast expanse of over 100
acre of land is lying deserted and unused. The multiple stockyard project for
stockpiling of ores and other goods is coming up at the said site with due
approval obtained from port trust board members and ministry of
The port authorities admitted that cutting
down of trees without forest permission was a mistake. But it was committed
inadvertently. We are soon seeking permission for tree-felling for the
infrastructure expansion of the port, the port officials said.
To make up the loss of tree cover, port
would undertake compensatory afforestation activity in adjoining places. A
surge protection seawall would also be built to plug the ingress of tidal waves,
added the port officials.