Odisha’s first geo-tube project runs into trouble over lack of wildlife clearance

Reported by Vishwanath Kumar
Kendrapara, June 22 :

Odisha’s first geo-tube project for arresting sea erosion in a vulnerable coastal hamlet in Kendrapara district has run into trouble following charges of forest and wildlife law violation brought against it by the state Forest department.

The state Forest department has warned the Water Resources department to suspend the World Bank funded project work till the necessary clearance is granted from competent authorities.

Geo-tube sea wall project at Pentha
Geo-tube sea wall project at Pentha

The Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) forest division has shot off an official letter communication to the water resources department seeking suspension of the construction work till the accordance of clearance by competent authorities.

“The project has been accorded Environment and Coastal Regulation Zone clearances. However, the authorities concerned have not been granted forest and wildlife clearance. The clearance of this nature is a must as the project site is located close to the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary and forest areas”, said Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) forest division, Kedar Kumar Swain.

“We have directed the saline embankment division to obtain clearance from national wildlife board before undertaking further construction of the project. The construction agencies have been warned to stop work. Any defiance would lead to infringement of forest conservation act and wildlife protection act. Penal action would be accordingly initiated against the authorities,” he said

The Rs 33 crore project, which is being implemented under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZMP) plan, had been envisaged in 2008. But for various technical and other reasons, the project has been delayed.

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai is providing technical expertise and guidance to the project to protect the vulnerable villages from the onslaught of the violent sea.

The geo-tube seawall project is an all-important one, keeping in view the adverse effect of intense sea erosion in these parts. The forest department is not opposed to the disaster control project as such. However it needs to implemented within the parameters of forest and wildlife laws, DFO Swain added.

Jugal Kishore Tripathy, Executive Engineer, Saline Embankment division said “Steps are being taken to obtain necessary clearance from competent authorities “.

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