CUTTACK: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notices to the State Government on a petition seeking intervention against alleged illegal construction undertaken by a private company over forest land in Kalinga Nagar of Jajpur district.
The petition filed by Kalinga Nagar Paribesh Surakshya Samiti president Aswini Kumar Dhal had alleged that the illegal construction was going on over 12 acre at Jakhpura by changing the nature of land from forest to non-forest use. The land is being used for development of a logistics hub for adjoining industries.
NGT’s Principal Bench (New Delhi) had taken up the petition on Wednesday and advocate Sankar Pani argued the case for the petitioner.
The Bench felt satisfied that ‘substantial question relating to environment arises in the present case’.
The Bench comprising S P Wangdi (Judicial Member) and Dr S S Garbyal (Expert Member) issued the notices returnable within three weeks to the State Government and posted the matter to November 25.
In its order, the Bench directed the Jajpur Collector, the Divisional Forest Officer, Jajpur and the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) to jointly inspect the area, verify the factual position at the site and submit a report. The Tribunal has appointed the OSPCB as the nodal agency for coordination and providing logistics support.
On the basis of information obtained through RTI, the petitioner also claimed that no forest clearance had been sought from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Consent to establish the logistics hub had also not been sought from the OSPCB. The operation of the logistics hub planned in the area would bring in air, noise and water pollution due to handling of ores and other materials, the petitioner alleged.
The petitioner has sought direction to the Collector to demolish the boundary wall and remove the electric poles, transformers and other structures from the forest land. Exemplary penalty should be imposed for changing the nature and character of land, extracting soil, extracting groundwater and filling in the water bodies.