Sanctuary trees uprooted during FANI to be handed over to Srimandir

Bhubaneswar: Eight months after Cyclone FANI devastated Odisha coast, the state government decided to use woods belonging to Balukhand Sanctuary, which lost the highest number of trees in the natural disaster, for Srimandir rituals.

Around 20 lakh trees were uprooted by the strong winds during Cyclone FANI at Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary. Out of those, 3 lakh trees will be given to the Eco Development Committee and the remaining woods of the uprooted trees will be handed over to Srimandir and Swargadwar in Puri, informed Forest & Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha after chairing the standing committee meeting of State Board for Wildlife here today.

The committee also approved to chop down 36 trees to revive ropeway project at Nandankanan Zoological Park (NZP), on outskirts of Bhubaneswar.

“We approved the proposal for cutting down 36 trees at Nandankanan to build the ropeway. The tourists waiting for the facility for a long time can avail it soon.” Arukha told media.

The panel recommended two proposals — removal of FANI uprooted/damaged trees from Balukhand sanctuary and felling of 36 trees at Nandankanan for construction of passenger aerial ropeway — for approval of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is the Chairman of State Board for Wildlife. Later, the proposals will be sent to the Centre for consideration.

“Before removal of uprooted trees, we need approval from concerned head. We held discussion on two proposals at the standing committee and it will be discussed at State Board for Wildlife headed by Chief Minister for transmitting the same to Government of India for final approval,” the minister said.

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