Odisha govt prepares massive plantation drive

According to preliminary reports, the loss on account of the damage to forest cover is estimated at Rs 537 crore, official sources said. PTI File photo

Odisha government has prepared a massive planatation drive to create a green barricade along the coast as more than 20 lakh trees were destroyed in cyclone Fani that pounded the state at a wind speed of about 200 kmph, officials said on Saturday.

The Rs 188 crore five-year plan aims to create a green barricade along the coast and generate green cover in cyclone-hit Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

The plan was approved at a high-level meeting held here under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary AP Padhi on Friday, they said.

As per the plan, about 130.5 lakh trees will be planted in 2019-20. While 80.5 lakh trees will be planted by the Forest department itself, another 50 lakh saplings will be distributed among various educational institutions, industrial estates and other private land holders for plantation in their respective areas.

Asking officials to take plantation drive in a mission mode, the chief secretary suggested involving people, panchayats and civil societies for successful implementation of the plan.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Forest) Sandeep Tripathy said 104 lakh saplings are now available with 12 Forest divisions in the state. The meeting also resolved to plant one lakh trees with long life in the Balukhand sanctuary, parks and roadside in Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

Shorter trees will be planted in areas where electric wires pass so that they do not come in touch with the live wires, an official said.

As cyclone Fani has also caused huge loss to horticulture in an area of 24,780 hectares, the meeting decided to plant 18 lakh fruit-bearing trees. The plantation activities will be taken up by dovetailing funds available under MGNREGA, he said.

The meeting also discussed on re-plantation of partially uprooted trees in and around Bhubaneswar. A proposal worth Rs 24 crore has been approved for the transplantation of the partly uprooted trees. Around 3,290 partly uprooted trees have been replanted in the city.

According to preliminary reports, the loss on account of the damage to forest cover is estimated at Rs 537 crore, official sources said.

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