Odisha Forest dept warns of stringent action against shrimp mafia in Kendrapara

The Forest Department swung into action and lodged an FIR against them at Jamboo marine police station on Friday.
Police and forest personnel at a spot allegedly encroached upon by shrimp mafia.
Police and forest personnel at a spot allegedly encroached upon by shrimp mafia.File Photo

KENDRAPARA: Amid allegations of shrimp mafia encroaching upon large tracts of mangrove forest in connivance with officials and influential persons, local police along with forest personnel visited such areas to investigate the matter on Saturday.

Sources said shrimp mafia have allegedly encroached upon forest in Jogidhanakuda, Saralikuda, Hetamundiua, Kansaridiha, Nipania, Sanatubi, Badatubi and other villages within Mahakalapada forest range of Bhitarkanika national park.

“Some of the encroachers have also been illegally constructing thatched houses and converting the forest land into shrimp farms by denuding mangrove trees. The Forest department swung into action and lodged an FIR against them at Jamboo marine police station on Friday.

We will soon evict all the encroachers with the help of police and the district administration. The Forest department will not spare any encroachers who are illegally occupying forest land. We will plant mangrove saplings over the encroached land to convert the area into mangrove forest,” DFO of Bhitarkanika Sudrashan Gopinath Yadav.

The Union Ministry of Forests, Environment & Climate Change had on June 9 this year unveiled a draft notification for an eco-sensitive zone covering 209 villages with a population of around 2. 75 lakh around Bhitarkanika national park and Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Kendrapara district and its nearby areas.

In the proposed ESZ, non-forestry activities, such as setting up of industries causing pollution, stone crushers, commercial mining, saw mills, shrimp farms, brick kilns , commercial use of fire wood and hydroelectric power projects, are not allowed.

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