Bhubaneswar: In another applaud to the State, India State Forest Report of 2019 has projected Odisha as a “Lead State” in different parameters of afforestation and forest management through application of technology. State’s initiative for DGPS survey of the entire forest land of 60,991 kms with latest techniques has proved to be very useful in monitoring of forest area, wildlife and maintenance of different assets. The method has been accepted as a best practice at the national level.
This was known from the State Level Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) meeting held under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sri Suresh Chandra Mohapatra in Lokseba Bhawan recently wherein CEO CAMPA Smt Uma Nanduri outlined the issues for discussion.
Reviewing the progress made so far, Chief Secretary Sri Mohapatra directed to increase green coverage on bald hills through plantation and regeneration activities during the year 2021-22. He also directed to create a digital database of all the forest assets and upload those on the public domain with regular updating. The department was asked to put in place a robust system for ground-level monitoring and public disclosure.
Further, Sri Mohapatra asked the forest and environment department to create a land bank for compensatory afforestation and protect the identified land from human intervention so as to allow natural regeneration on that land. The department was also asked to prepare a three-year action plan for making the forest roads motorable at least for easy availability of health and emergency services at the remote villages. Sri Mohapatra also directed to do solar fencing along the forest borders involving the people of the adjoining the human habitation for preventing the man-animal conflict.
The Development Commissioner Sri Pradeep Kumar Jena advised to do third party assessment of the pre and post green cover density against each plantation project. He added, “All plantation projects should have monitorable objectives in terms of increase in green density and soil & moisture conservation.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Sri Sandeep Tripathy said, “As per ISFR- 2019, the forest area in Odisha has increased by 274 sq kms within the year 2017 to 2019. Besides, the tree cover area has also increased by 655 sq kms. Odisha has been projected as a lead State in different parameters of forest management and has been placed at 6th position at the national level”.
The Committee approved Annual Action Plan of 2021-22 with a total outlay of around Rs.903.39 cr. The major activities included block plantation, assisted natural regeneration, bald hill plantation, regeneration of the bamboo forest, maintenance of previous year plantation, fodder & fruit bearing plantation, bamboo culture, wildlife management, infrastructure development, capacity building research and evaluation etc. Target was set to take up plantation in 40,494 and bamboo culture over 75000 hectors. The soil and moisture conservation works would be taken up over 7000 hects. The old roadside plantation over 154865 hect would be maintained. The intensive plantation would be taken up over 551 hect of bald hill. Assisted natural regeneration activities would be undertaken over 2790 hects. Around 70 culverts and 100 causeways would be built in the forest area and 150 tube wells would be dug in the remote villages inside the forest. The issue of forest fire protection figured in the meeting. It was decided to make required investment for maintenance of fire protection line, operation of 216 fire protection squads and support to VSS for fire protection works.
CEO Smt Nanduri said, “as of now total area of 56,958.73 hect of forest area have been diverted for different public and developmental purposes in Odisha. Against this, afforestation has been done in 67,828 hect”. The meeting set the target for plantation over 3,603.03 hect during the period of APO 2021-22.
Development Commissioner Sri Pradeep Kumar Jena, Additional Chief Secretary Forest & Environment Dr Mona Sharma, Principal Secretary Finance Sri Ashok Kumar Meena, PCCF Sri Sandeep Tripathy along with other senior officers of the concerned departments participated in the deliberations.