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Plan For 1.5 Lakh Hect Plantation

Bhubaneswar: To increase forest coverage, the State Government has set an ambitious target to plant trees over 1.5 lakh hectares of land during the financial year 2021-22.

This was known from the DFO’s conference held under the chairmanship of Forest, Environment & Climate Change Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha through virtual mode from Lok Seva Bhawan, Wednesday.

The meeting was attended by Additional Chief Secretary (Forest) Mona Sharma, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Sisir Kumar Ratho, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) & Chief Wildlife Warden, Odisha and other senior officers of the Department. The Regional Chief Conservators of Forests of all the 9 circles and 51 DFOs joined the meeting virtually.

Minister Arukha stressed upon the 5T & Mo Sarkar programme of the Government to be used in various activities undertaken by the Forest Department. He particularly emphasized bringing transparency to obtain the trust of the general public.

The Forest Department has proposed to take up the plantations over an area of 1,50,000 ha under different schemes including 50,000 ha under MGNREGS during the current planting season.

In view of deficit rainfall of 21 percent between June 1 and July 27, it was informed that plantations have been undertaken in around 65,615 ha with planting of nearly 2.10 crore seedlings. In addition, nearly 76.6 lakh of seedlings have been distributed.

It was also informed that the Department has kept a financial target of Rs 901 crore under MGNREGS. Proposals worth Rs 500 crore were submitted, out of which Rs 70 crore has been spent generating around 18 lakhs mandays employment.

Additional Chief Secretary Sharma directed that the financial target under MGNREGS is only an indicator and steps should be taken to achieve more as it brings employment to the rural people.

She also emphasized that in order to achieve the target, the DFOs may submit the proposals in other activities like SSO, maintenance and repair of forest road, SMC, trenches etc.

Ratho coordinated the entire meeting and stressed upon the DFOs for early completion of all the plantation activities keeping in view of the rainfall pattern of the State.

PCCF (WL) & CWLW, Odisha informed about the launching of Anukampa App with the aim of speeding up payment of compensation money to the persons against the damage caused by the wildlife.

While concluding the meeting, the Minister stressed that the people’s participation should be encouraged in all the activities going on in the forestry sector. Mangrove plantations should be increased in the coastal areas as a shelter belt against natural calamities, he said.

Further, the forest officers have been directed to achieve all targets set for plantation including MGNREGS by the end of planting season.

He expressed that the plantation programme of the state, in all total, is quite good and further emphasis to be given on peoples-oriented programmes. Additional PCCF Prem Kumar Jha proposed vote of thanks.