BJD demands Baijayant Panda’s arrest for flying over Chilika lake

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 18 (IANS) Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Tuesday demanded the arrest of former MP Baijayant Panda for allegedly flying over an eco-sensitive zone of the Chilika lagoon last week.

Holding banners, many BJD MLAs staged a protest near the Mahatma Gandhi statue on the premises of the Odisha Legislative Assembly demanding Panda’s arrest.

They also demanded the arrest of Abhijit Iyer Mitra, who accompanied Panda in the chopper on September 15, for his insensitive remark on the Konark Sun Temple.

Iyer had posted a video on Twitter saying the temple was a monumental conspiracy against Hindu civilisation.

BJD MLA Sanjay Das Burma said: “Those who are the protectors of the law are violating it. While the centre withdrew its seaplane proposal on Chilika lake as it will negatively affect the bio-diversity, they (Panda) are flying a helicopter on the lake.”

“An FIR has already been filed in this regard. Action will be taken as per the law so that such type of incidents do not occur again,” said Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray.

The police on Monday seized the chopper flown by Panda on charges of violating flight rules and entering the eco-sensitive zone.

The action was taken on the basis of a complaint lodged by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA).

However, Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said the chopper should have been seized only after a proper probe.

“If it is a reserved area, why should Odisha Chief Minister (Naveen Patnaik) be allowed to fly on the same zone and anyone else doing so is proved wrong. It is a political conspiracy,” Bahinipati told the media here.

“The BJD should demand Patnaik’s arrest for flying in the same zone. If they want to protect the Chilika lake, the Chief Minister, who has flown over the lake several times in the past, should be arrested,” said BJP legislature party leader K.V. Singhdeo.

Reacting to the development, Panda, who resigned from the ruling party days after being suspended for alleged anti-party activities, maintained that the state government is trying to falsely implicate and drag him into the controversy.

“Odisha Police, your illegal seizure of the helicopter may slow me, but can’t stop me from reaching my people,” he tweeted.



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