Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday directed the administration to put a stop to the cutting of trees at the proposed beer-bottling plant near Balarampur in the Dhenkanal district after protests by the villagers.
The Chief Minister also ordered the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) concerned to probe the incident of tree-felling.
The villagers, protesting against the cutting of trees for the bottling plant, had a scuffle with the police on Saturday.
Noted environmentalist Praffula Samantara, who reached the place of the incident, demanded that the state government compensate the community that has protected the forests for generations.
The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) termed the Chief Minister’s order to put a stop to tree-felling as meaningless and an afterthought following a backlash from the community.
“The direction for the RDC probe by the Chief Minister has no meaning since there is visual proof of it. Instead of the RDC, he could have ordered a police inquiry. It seems that the Chief Minister has passed the order under pressure,” said senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra.
BJP leader Pradeep Purohit said that the state government’s decision for an RDC probe is of no use as the damage has already been done.
“It seems some ministers and bureaucrats are operating without the knowledge of the Chief Minister. The RDC probe into the incident is of no use as the damage has already been done with the felling of hundreds of trees. The order is only to pacify the public,” he said.