Kendrapara, Jan 10 (LocalWire) A saw mill owner, arrested two years back for running an illegal saw mill within Bhitarkanika National Park of Kendrapara district, was sentenced to three months in jail by the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) of Rajnagar on Thursday.
Besides, the court also slapped a fine of Rs 3000 on the convict, which, if he fails to pay, will keep him in jail for another one months.
Pronouncing the verdict, JMFC Krusha Chandra Nayak convicted Sridhar Sahoo,owner of Jagannath Saw Mill at Sanabadgopalpur within the park, to three months imprisonment under sections 4 and 11 of Odisha Saw Mill and Saw-pit Act, 1991.
Forest officials arrested Sahoo on May 28, 2015 on the charges of illegally running the saw mill within the park.
During the raid, forest officials also seized timbers, two big electric motors , wheels , blades and other machines from the saw mill compound.
The Odisha Saw Mill and Saw-pit Act , 1991 and Forest Act prohibit running of saw mills within 10 kilometers radius of forests.
Forest officials had earlier served notice to Sahoo to shift his saw mill. But he did not pay any heed to it , said Sushree Kumara Nayak, special counsel of forest and environment department.
Three years back, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) declared 192 villages around Bhitarkanika National Park as Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) to prevent ecological damage caused due to developmental activities around India’s second largest mangrove forest after Sundarbans in West Bengal .
ESZ prohibits any saw mill within two kilometers from Bhitarkanika, said Nayak.