Balangir: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Odisha’s Balangir on January 15, thousands of trees have allegedly been cut down for creation of a helipad near the railway station in the town.
Following the allegations, Balangir Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sameer Satpathy has ordered for a probe into the matter.
As per the Forest department, around 30,000 saplings were planted across the town in the years 2015-16 and 2016-17 under the Urban Plantation programme at a cost of Rs 10 lakh. Out of the total saplings, 3500 were planted near the railway station.
An estimated number of over 3,000 trees have been uprooted for the helipad, said Balangir Ranger Bijay Khuntia. An investigation will be carried out to ascertain the circumstances under which the deforestation was carried out without any permission of the department, sources said.
“We have received allegation of deforestation for creation of the helipad. As per the direction of the DFO, we will visit the spot after which the number of trees uprooted for the purpose can be ascertained,” said Balangir Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) Babaji Charan Raul said.