Beer plant runs into green lovers

The protestors though failed in their efforts as the work was undertaken under heavy deployment of police. Thirteen persons have been arrested in connection with the scuffle.

Published: 18th November 2018 02:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2018 11:20 AM   |  A+A-

Women protesting felling of trees | Express

By Express News Service

DHENKANAL: Putting up a strong resistance to felling of trees in a community developed forest for establishment of a beer bottling plant at Balrampur in Odapada block, hundreds of villagers including women were engaged in a scuffle with police on Saturday.

The protestors though failed in their efforts as the work was undertaken under heavy deployment of police. Thirteen persons have been arrested in connection with the scuffle. According to official sources, the bottling unit is proposed to be set up by Gayatri Group’s P Bottlers on 12.59 acres of land. IDCO has acquired 62 acres including the 12.59 acres for industrial park. The plant is expected to start production next year. 

On November 3 when Collector Nikhil Pawan Kalyan performed ground breaking ceremony for the proposed plant, the villagers had opposed it. They protested the destruction of an entire forest that had been created and nurtured by the villagers over decades. They argued that besides environmental damage, the large scale felling of trees, which provided a natural cover to the villages in its vicinity, will allow free pass to the elephants to intrude into the villages and lead to loss of lives and property.

However, the district administration went ahead with its plans. As the workers under the supervision of Forest Department officials gathered at Balrampur to cut down trees at the project site, hundreds stood in resistance. With the officials remaining indifferent to the villagers’ plea, trees were felled. 
Responding to the villagers’ opposition, the Collector said no forest land would be used for the plant.

Besides, local people would be employed in the plant, he added.
Though the administration claimed that they had conducted survey and informed the villagers about the project, the villagers refuted it stating that they were not informed about types of industry to be set up.
Forest department sources said they had marked 956 trees to be cut down during a team’s visit to the site in March.
Dhenkanal SP Santosh Kumar Nayak said the police have arrested 13 people and forwarded them to court.



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