Rourkela: Forest department on Thursday seized an illegal saw mill located a few metres away from the National Highway near Vedvyas on the outskirts of the Steel city.
Acting on directions of District Forest Officer (DFO) Sanjay Swain, a team of forest officials conducted a raid on the illegal saw mill, which was allegedly being run under the patronage of a local forest official.
During the raid, the officials seized huge quantity of logs including instruments and detained nine workers from the spot. However, the owner of the illegal saw mill Ramakant Biswal managed to escape before the police raid.
According to the cops, the saw mill operators used to fell trees from the nearby forest and saw it at the illegal mill. Later, the logs were sold at a high price.
A complaint of the illegal business was reported to Rourkela DFO alleging that the illegal saw mill was being operated under the encouragement of a local forest official.
The cops are interrogating the manager of the saw mill identified as Suresh Das, who was also detained along with others. Efforts are on to shift the seized logs and machinery to the forest department office while further investigation is underway, said the forest officials.
It is worth mentioning here that the accused owner of the saw mill Biswal had illegally acquired the place, which was earlier a godown of the forest department.