BHUBANESWAR: Even as the unprecedented heat wave has brought under radar the vanishing tree cover from urban areas, Odisha Government has drawn up an ambitious plan to achieve 15 per cent of greenery in nine cities in next five years under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.
Needless to mention, Bhubaneswar, which has turned into a heat island, remains a major focus of the Government. The Forest and Environment Department's Action Plan targets a whopping 11.82 lakh seedlings in and around the Capital City under the urban plantation component.
During the period between 2016-17 and 2020-21, the department has proposed to plant at least 29.61 lakh seedlings across 14 wildlife and territorial divisions. Bhubaneswar gets at least 40 per cent of it.
Since rejuvenation of the greenery is one of the mandates under AMRUT, the department has targeted the main city areas. In case of Bhubaneswar, where 11.82 lakh seedlings are proposed to be planted, the City Forest Division's share will be over six lakh seedlings. The plan suggests that over 2.6 lakh seedlings will be planted in Chandaka Wildlife Division, which happens to be the oxygen source for the Capital. Khurda Forest Division, city’s buffer zone, will also get a share of one lakh seedlings.
Similarly, the action plan looks at elaborate avenue plantation which will be for 1,041 running kms through which 2.5 lakh seedlings will be planted. Bhubaneswar will get at least 50,000 seedlings along 120 running kms.
The plans for distribution of seedlings is huge with the Department projecting a whopping 3.04 crore seedlings to be distributed over the five years. Bhubaneswar City gets a share of 48 lakh seedlings out of the total to be distributed.
Under the agro forestry component, the Government is looking at distributing another 2.82 crore seedlings out of which 40 lakh will be for City Forest and Chandaka Wildlife Division.
The Housing and Urban Development Department says the plan is to progressively increase the green cover. It has identified shade bearing as well as fruit bearing species most of which are indigenous in nature.
The nine cities covered under AMRUT include Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Puri, Berhampur, Bhadrak, Baripada, Balasore and Sambalpur.