| File picture of the entrance to Bhitarkanika National Park |
Kendrapara, Jan. 10: A group of people allegedly manhandled four forest personnel at the government-run tourists’ complex in the Bhitarkanika National Park at Dangamal in Rajnagar.
The incident took place on Wednesday midnight as the group of 15 drunk people, owing allegiance to the BJD, went berserk following denial of entry into the guesthouse.
As the forest staff members flatly refused the group from gaining access to the complex, they faced their wrath. Later, the hooligans forced their way to the tourists’ complex. They forcibly took possession of an occupied suite. It is alleged that they resorted to acts of vandalism by uprooting medicinal plants reared in the complex.
However, local police are yet to take the trouble-makers into custody. Though the forest officials have detained the group, the local police are yet to visit the place.
Official sources said the police were busy with the maintenance of law and order in view of chief minister Naveen Pattnaik’s visit to the neighbouring Mahakalpada today.
The resort was jam-packed with tourists from the state as well as from outside. Many were shocked to witness such breach of peace in a tourist resort, which houses, among others, a bungalow, rest sheds, eco-tourism cottages, apart from dormitories for accommodation of tourists and visitors. A crocodile research farm and a wildlife museum are located in the resort.
Divisional forest officer of the Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) forest division Manoj Kumar Mahaptra said: “The goons, who had been drunk, manhandled our staff members. They also caused damage to plants. Tourists were disturbed by such unfortunate incident. It has given the site a bad name.”