Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 14:
The Odisha government has asked the Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoEF) to revoke the environment clearance given to Ind Barath Energy Utkal Ltd, which is setting up a power plant in Jharsuguda district, for illegal construction on forest land at Sahajbahal Mouza without a forest clearance.
The government has also asked the Jharsuguda Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) to initiate departmental proceedings against the forest guards and foresters for not reporting the unauthorized encroachment and failing to prevent such encroachment of forest land by the project proponent.
“The allegation of illegal construction activities on forest land by the project proponent in Sahajbahal Mouza of Jharsuguda district has been inquired by the DFO. As reported by the DFO, 14.52 acres of revenue forest kisam land has been used in Mouza Sahajbahal and Barpali under Lakhanpur tehsil in violations of Forest laws by the project proponent for undertaking different components of activities,” said Debabrat Swain, special secretary to state Forest and Environment department in his letter to the MoEF.
He said since the forest kisam land encroached by the project proponent for this project is under the jurisdiction of Revenue & Disaster Management Department, they have been requested to take required measures to ensure that forest kisam land is not illegally used by the project proponent and illegal construction activities already taken up over forest kisam land are dismantled immediately.
It may be noted that this project received Environmental clearance on 30 November 2009. Though the project involves forest as well as non-forest land, the project proponent has taken up construction activities on forest as well as non-forest land without obtaining forest clearance in violation of FC Act and guidelines.
According to the department official, the government has already asked the MoEF to suspend the environment clearance to the company for violating the forest norms.