Puri, March 25 (LocalWire): Sand and timber mafias continue to plunder the precious resources of Balukhanda-Konark wildlife sanctuary, while factories nearby have turned it into a dumping ground.
Although a new area has been added to the sanctuary as a buffer from the bustling Puri town, things haven’t improved yet for the protected area, or so it seems.
Sources say that sand and timber mafias operate openly in the park despite being a protected area. In addition, the buffer zone has turned into a dumping ground for glass and polyester bag factories nearby.
The situation has deteriorated after the devastating impact of the cyclonic storms Phailin and Hud-Hud on the buffer zone that took away 40% of the planted trees, creating a large barren patch in the forest.
A forest ranger told LocalWire, “The new area is not yet under our jurisdiction. It is still a PWD property; although a process is on to fully bring it under the forest department’s control.”
“Also, the area is huge; it’s not possible for us to keep a vigil on every corner of the park,” he said, requesting anonymity.
Spread over 72 sq km, the preserve is famous for the presence of some 5,000 spotted deer. On some nights, the animals are seen venturing into the periphery to quench their thirst from a waterhole.