Odisha's green cover badly hit by cyclone Fani

Odisha's green cover badly hit by cyclone Fani

Uprooted trees in the aftermath of cyclone 'Fani'. (PTI File Photo)

The Odisha government said its green cover had been badly damaged by cyclone Fani that wrought havoc in the coastal belt of the state on May 3. Its impact is expected to be felt in the coming months and years. 

“Cyclone Fani has caused irreparable damage to the state’s green cover. It will take not less than 20 years to repair and recreate the greenery”, state forest and environment minister Bijoyshree Routray said.

According to preliminary estimation, Fani destroyed as many as 20 lakh trees in the fourteen affected coastal districts. Most of the trees have been destroyed in the five worst-hit districts of Puri, Khurda, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara. The forest and environment department suffered a loss of more than Rs.500 crore due to the calamity.

Routray who chaired a high-level review meeting of his department said about Rs.580 crore assistance would be sought from the central government for afforestation program which will be in large-scale.

 “We will take up afforestation program ourselves. Besides, we are also going to involve common people in the process. Saplings will be distributed among individuals under the massive efforts to recreate the green cover”, the minister said adding that attempts will be made to plant trees that can resist cyclones like Fani in future.

He further said that his department will try to revive the half and partly broken trees through technology.

Many wildlife and marine sanctuaries have been hit hard by the extremely severe tropical cyclonic storm. The worst affected among them is Balukhand wildlife sanctuary on the Puri-Konark marine drive. The sanctuary has almost become treeless. It has been severely damaged because it was located close to the temple town of Puri where the Fani had its landfall.

The sanctuary was home to more than five hundred deer. Interestingly all of them have vanished after the calamity. “One or two of them have been found dead. A search is on to locate the rest”, Routray said.

The Nandankanan zoo and zoological park in the outskirts of the capital city Bhubaneswar has also been heavily damaged by the cyclone. The restoration work is going on in the zoo on war-footing and authorities are trying to reopen the popular tourists’ destination by May 21.