Odisha: Ahead Of PM Modi’s Visit, Over 1,000 Trees Felled For Creating Space For Helipad

The Logical Indian Crew Odisha

January 14th, 2019 / 1:47 PM

Trees Fell Modi Visit

Image Credit: Jansatta (Representational)

Thousands of trees were cut on January 13 for Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Odisha’s Balangir district on January 15. The trees were allegedly fell for creating space for temporary helipads and for security reasons. The area happens to be under the jurisdiction of the railways.

“Authorities were required to take permission”

Saplings were planted on 2.25 hectares land of the Indian Railways in 2016 under the urban plantation programme. For PM Modi’s upcoming visit to the district, an area of 1.25 hectares was cleared, as reported by The Hindu. Reportedly, no permission was sought from the forest department before felling the trees.

Confirming the same, Samir Kumar Satpathy, Balangir Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) told the press, “The allegation of tree felling is true. No prior permission was sought from us for it.” Satpathy also said that the Railways department was confronted regarding the unauthorized felling of trees. The forest department was then told that the trees were urgently cut down from the point of security. Further inquiry has been ordered and a notice will be issued to the Railways department to explain the need to do this.

An on-spot inquiry revealed that the trees cut were about four to seven feet tall with a survival rate of close to 90%. Satpathy said that about 1,000 to 1,200 in total were cut. However, local media says that about 3,000 trees were fell.

Blame game

As reported by NDTV, the railway department distanced itself from the matter saying that the preparation of such helipad was the task of the Public Works Department (PWD) of the state government. Spokesperson of the East Coast Railways said, “It’s the PWD that can construct helipads. Railways do not carry out such activities”, reported The Indian Express.

The Union Petroleum Minister and senior BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan said that people afraid of PM Modi’s visit are spreading false rumours by misusing forest officials.

The Logical Indian Take

It is not the first time, a plantation has been cleared for a political event. Just for a temporary set-up, well-grown trees are mowed down, as seen in this case, that too without permission from the authority. The Logical Indian urges the concerned authority to take note and make sure that such incidents do not take place in future.

Also Read: Dozens Of Trees Cut Down To Make Advertisements Visible; Activists Take It Down


Written by : Shraddha Goled

Edited by : Bharat Nayak

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