More saw mills opposed

BHUBANESWAR OCT. 26. The Wildlife Society of Orissa has opposed the recommendation of an official committee for establishment of 70 more sawmills in the State.

"If the State Government was serious about protection of forests, the recommendation of the committee should be rejected,'' Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of the Wildlife Society of Orissa, has said.

"The recommendation of the official committee for establishment of 70 more sawmills is nothing but a devious attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court's orders which were passed for protection of Orissa's forests,'' Mr. Mohanty said in a statement.

"The committee's claim that more sawmills would induce more private persons to grow forests is ludicrous since more sawmills would obviously decimate Orissa's forests.'' There were 150 sawmills in the State and 130 of them were operating in the coastal districts in spite of an announcement by the State Government in Dec. 1999, that they would be closed to save the existing tree cover of the coastal region, Mr. Mohanty said.

Although the `supercyclone' in October 1999 uprooted nine crore trees in the coastal districts, the licences of these saw or plywood mills had not been cancelled so far.

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