BARIPADA: Protesting the proposed eco-tourism project, villagers gheraoed the Pithabata Ranger, Ranjan Kumar Mohanty, at Bagdiha inside Baripada forest division on Sunday.
The people were from Bagdiha, Goudadiha, Mohulia, Sorupvilla and members of forest protection committee (FPC). They protested the Sri Ram Batika eco-tourism project, which is to come up in Manchabandha reserve forest and demanded immediate release of Luna Mohanta (35) who was arrested for allegedly demolishing the wire fencing.
Sources said the enraged villagers also detained forest guards for nearly three hours while they were patrolling inside the reserve forest.
Suma Sing, a member of FPC, appealed to them to stop construction work inside the forest, as they fear it would affect their livelihood.
Later, local tehsildar N K Singh, Baripada SDPO Sudhakar Kumar Jena, Town police station IIC Sudarshan Gangei along with a platoon of police force rushed to the spot and rescued the Ranger and forest guards.