Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Mar 28:
The Odisha High Court has directed the state government and the Centre to make combined efforts to step up security in the Similipal national park and all sanctuaries and reserve forests of the state.
Acting on a PIL filed by advocate Pravat Ranjan Das, a division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice AK Goel and Justice AK Rath on Thursday directed the state government and the Centre to work in tandem by formulating and implementing plans for the security of these rich forest areas in the state.
In its affidavit, the state government informed the court that it has taken adequate steps for the security of the reserve forests in accordance with the Supreme Court guidelines.
The state government has formed Vana Surakhya Samities (VSS) in all districts involving the local people who have been working for the protection of the forests with the support of the local range officers, the affidavit said.
The bench, however, made it clear that it would admit the petition for hearing if the state government fails to take up adequate security measures in these reserve forests.
It may be mentioned that the petitioner had filed a PIL in the High Court in 1998 following media reports on rampant tree-felling and poaching in Similipal national park.
The petitioner had requested the court to intervene in the matter and direct the state government to form a Central Reserve Forest Force in line with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and take adequate measures to protect the rich flora and fauna of the park.