Bhubaneswar: The Department of Forests has stopped the Paradip Port Trust (PPT) authorities from felling l standing trees and destroy mangrove forests in the core area of the port to carve out more space for expansion of infrastructure development projects near the Nehru Bangala rest house along the sea side.
Forest department officials claimed that the PPT administration was carrying out its activities in an illegal manner violating rules under forest and environmental acts. A case under section-27 of the Orissa Forest Act, 1972 had been registered against PPT.
The standing trees are classified forest species. Forest department officials said that the PPT administration should have obtained prior permission before cutting down the species since clearance from the Forest Department is mandatory before any form of deforestation activity even within the core area of the port.
The exercise was being carried out by PPT to set up multiple cargo stockyard at the old CISF complex. The stockyard project formed the part of the ongoing expansion work of the port as there is shortage of space at the operational stockyards.
After the CISF complex was shifted to Sandhakuda area of port town, the old complex with vast expanse of over 120 acre of land is lying deserted and unused. Though green signals have been obtained from the Union Shipping Ministry and PPT board members for setting up the multiple stockyard complex , clearance was not given by the state forest department
However, the PPT administration do admit that not taking due permission from the Forest Department was a mistake committed inadvertently and official process for getting clearance from the forest department would begin soon.
The PPT will undertake compensatory afforestation activity in adjoining places and a protection seawall would also be built to plug the ingress of tidal waves.