A PTI report quoting local Divisional Forest Officer said several trees were removed without obtaining permission for a helipad at Bolangir in Odisha and an enquiry was ordered. PTI later removed the story.
The helipad was being constructed for the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Soon, ABP News TV channel telecast the news claiming that the helipad at Bolangir precipitated the felling of 1,000 trees to make way for the helipad.
However, the video shows not more than 4 to 6 trees being cut down . But the claim based on this video that 1,000 trees were chopped off just for the helipad was making rounds in social media. (See video below)
— ABP News (@abpnewstv) January 15, 2019
However, local BJP leader and Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan denied the report and finally, a clarification was made by the East Coast Railway spokesperson that the land was barren with bushes and few saplings, which were cleared and only few trees were trimmed for the landing of the chopper. The land falls within the jurisdiction of the Railways.
See the TOI Bhubaneshwar clarification on this story:
Leaves/branches of few trees on Railway land had to be pruned to give full and proper space for helicopter movements.
4. All concerned authorities were a part of all discussions and in greater administrative interest, few plants and shrubs had to be removed.
— TOI Bhubaneswar (@TOIBhubaneswar) January 14, 2019
However, Digiteye India searched the landscape on Google Maps and found the following images about the fact. Last year’s image shows not many trees in the area marked as a circle in the map. Even now, the area after felling of trees looks same, indicating not many trees were cut in the area. See images:
The white spot in the map is where the helipad was reported to have been built. Look at the map taken in 2018. While the new constructions in the above image are missing in the picture below and the trees were nowhere visible either. Hence, the report that 1000 trees have been cut can be termed an exaggeration.
(This story has been updated with the video embedded and additional inputs inserted]