Bhubaneswar: With the opposition BJP accusing the ruling BJD leaders of illegal land acquisition, the Odisha government on Thursday asked the Divisional Forest Officer to probe into the matter while admitting construction of road in the said land.
"I have directed the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Wildlife, Chandaka, to probe into allegation regarding misuse and encroachment of forest land at Ghangapatana mouza under Chandaka tehsil in Khurda district," Forest and Environment minister Bikram K Arukh told reporters here.
The state government`s action came barely two days after senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra in a press meet alleged that over 100 acre of forest land at Ghangapatna village was illegally encroached by two BJD leaders comprising a minister and a Rajya Sabha MP.
Mohapatra had alleged that the government department illegally constructed roads on village forest category land. Stating that he directed inquiry by forest officials immediately after being informed about the alleged encroachment of rural forest land including hills, Arukh said, "The preliminary report says that the said 100 acre land does not come under reserve forest area nor the road constructed there also falls under the rural forest category land."
Claiming that action would be taken as per the law if there was any violation, Arukh said he was expecting a final report from the DFO within a week.
Meanwhile, Rural Development minister Badrinarayan Patra also claimed that his department was not involved in the construction of the road at Ghangapatna village, at the outskirts of the state capital.
"As soon as the allegation was made, I asked the officials to verify whether the Rural Development department had carried out any road construction work. Our officials reported that the department was in no way involved in it," Patra said.
Meanwhile, the Khurda district administration, has sought a report from the local tehsildar. "I have submitted a report on the construction of a road at Ghangapatana village to the district collector," said Sukant Pradhan, the Block Development Officer (BDO), Bhubaneswar.