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Green Cover On Rise

New Delhi: Forest cover is being increased year by year in the State as the Government is undertaking various afforestation activities and forest protection measures.

Giving a written statement in Rajya Sabha, Union MoS for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Choubey said the Odisha Government has undertaken various afforestation activities and forest protection measures to increase the forest cover and for sustainable management of the forests as per approved working plans.

As per the report received from Odisha, he said, deforestation in the State has not increased in recent years, and due to implementation of various afforestation schemes and forest protection measures, the forest cover in the State has increased during 2017 to 2021.

Odisha had 51,345 square km of forest cover in 2017, which was increased to 51,619 sq. km in 2019 and 52,156 sq. km in 2021, the Union Minister said.

The green coverage of Odisha was increased by 885 sq. km in 2017 in comparison to its previous survey year. Similarly, the green cover was increased by 272 sq. km in 2019 and 537 sq. km in 2021. Now, 33.50 percent of the total geographical area of Odisha has green coverage, he said.

Mr.Choubey further informed that his Ministry is implementing various afforestation schemes to increase the forest cover in the country namely Green India Mission, Nagar Van Yojana, Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority, and under various schemes of line Ministries namely Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes (MGNREGS), National Bamboo Mission, National Agroforestry Policy and Sub-mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) etc. and also under various plan schemes of the States/UTs.

The multi departmental efforts have yielded good results in conserving forest and environment by addressing the problem of deforestation, besides keeping the pace of development, which is evident from the fact that the forest cover in the country has been constantly increasing over the years, he pointed out.

As per report received from State of Odisha, the MoS said awareness programs are being taken up for prevention of shifting cultivation (Podu), fire protection and anti-poaching etc. involving Vana Samrakshana Samiti Members, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) members and NGOs in the rural areas through pamphlets, meetings, posters, Nukkad Natak etc., and also through capacity building and training programs of forest staff and villagers.