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BJD MP under scanner for allegedly flying over tiger reserve

Sat, 04 Dec 2010 07:47:00
Padhi said he has already gathered information from the local staffs and according to that there was no chopper movement in the area in recent weeks. “I am however waiting for the written report”.
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 Bhubaneswar, Dec 4 (Odisha.in) Wildlife authorities in Orissa are investigating into allegation that a Biju Janata Dal Member of Parliament flew a chopper over state’s Satkosia tiger reserve reportedly violating wildlife and green laws, State’s chief Wild Life Warden P.N. Padhi said on Saturday.

The probe has been ordered after a newspaper on Friday reported the alleged violation by Baijayant "Jay" Panda, a member of the lower house of parliament. The matter was later raised by some opposition Congress members in the assembly.

Padhi said he has already gathered information from the local staffs and according to that there was no chopper movement in the area in recent weeks. “I am however waiting for the written report”.

A local vernacular daily reported on Friday that Panda who is an industrialist- politician allegedly flew the chopper in low height and disturbed the wild life environment without taking permissions from the local wild life authority.

Although it did not mention the date of occurrence, the news paper report also added that the flying was witnessed by the local residents and officials.

A young industrialist cum Parliamentarian from Haryana was the co-pilot in the chopper; said the report with out mentioning the name of the co-pilot. The news paper has also published several photographs of the flying.

Responding to the news report, opposition Congress has demanded an inquiry into the incident and sought action against the violators.

Panda’s political secretary J. P. Ghosh however refuted the allegation and said Panda always fly with proper permission from Air Traffic Control (ATC). He has never violated any rules” he said adding that on no occasion, Panda has flown over a restricted area.

Environmentalist Biswajit Mohanty who is a member of National Board for Wild Life said he had written a letter to the central ministry of environment and forests and to National Tiger Conservation Authority, when another vernacular daily carried a report in November last year on such violation without naming who was flying.

Although we asked for an investigation no steps have been taken yet, he said. We have sent reminders to the ministry in January this year, and again after the recent report, he said.

Satkosia is spread over four districts such as Angul, Cuttack, Nayagarh and Boudh is home to about 18 Royal Bengal tigers and more then 300 elephants.

Baijayant “Jay” Panda is a sitting member of the lower house (Lok Sabha) of Parliament from Kendrapara constituency. Earlier he had been twice elected to the upper house of parliament (Rajya Sabha) in 2000 and 2006, also from Orissa.


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