Row over felling of trees

The state forest department has ordered a probe into tree-felling on the Paradip Port Trust hospital premises.

By Our Correspondent
  • Published 17.10.17
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Paradip: The state forest department has ordered a probe into tree-felling on the Paradip Port Trust hospital premises.

Nearly a hundred trees had been pulled down on the premises since past one week to create space for infrastructure development projects at the port town's health care institute.

The inquiring team has found that the trees were dismantled. The port hospital authorities should have obtained prior permission before cutting down the trees. According to standing rules, the authorities concerned should have informed the local tehsildar before the move.

"The tehsil and forest employees are required to conduct joint inquiry before giving clearance for tree-cutting. However, the port hospital officials did not obtain the required permission and defied the rule," said Kujang forest range officer Pratap Chandra Mohanty.

The forest department has served show-cause notice to the hospital. Following the compliance of show-cause reply, cases under various sections of the Orissa Forest Act, 1972, would be registered against the hospital authorities.

The hospital authorities admitted that tree-cutting without obtaining the forest permission was a mistake. However, it was committed inadvertently, they said.

The Odisha Forest Development Corporation has been entrusted with the plantation programme at the hospital.

"The trees were pulled down to create space for carrying out plantation in a systematic manner. However, we were not aware of rules," said the hospital's chief medical officer Prahallad Panda.

The hospital will undertake compensatory afforestation activity with support from the corporation to make up for the loss, Panda said.

Paradip Port Trust authorities had earlier faced accusation of carrying out deforestation activity in defiance of legal provisions. The forest department had earlier registered a case against the port authorities for carrying out unlawful deforestation activities by felling of standing trees, including the mangrove species, near the port.