With summer already setting in with full fury, the city dwellers are set to face a torrid time due to lack of adequate green cover. The Capital city, which is witnessing real estate boom at the cost of greenery, has trouble in store for the residents in the coming days.
Though City Forest Division, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) are in charge of developing plantations in and around the city, little has been done in this regard.
Except from the site at Kalinga Nagar and the Medicinal Plant Garden developed by the City Forest Division, Bhubaneswar, sites inside Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary maintained by Chandaka Wildlife Division and the OFDC sites at Patrapada and on the outskirts of the city, no substantial greenery can be found inside the city reeling under intense heat wave conditions and pollution.
According to reports, the city has lost more than 10,000 trees in last few years due to expansion of roads and around 25,000 trees due to cyclonic storm Phailin which hit last year. However, nothing substantial has been done to compensate the loss.
Though plantation should be carried out 10 times the number of trees felled as per rules, a few lakh trees have been planted in the city in the last few years.
A senior official at the City Forest Division requesting anonymity said, “The BMC and BDA have failed miserably in developing and maintaining greenery in the city. The BDA is complacent in its attitude towards the issue while the BMC, which is ailing with staff shortage, is yet to take up the cause seriously.
BMC Environment Officer BK Routray said, “There is no field staff to carry out the plantation drive. Whatever trees we are planting in the city is through Orissa Forest Division Corporation (OFDC).”
The BMC had planted only 1000 saplings in the city through OFDC last year and plans to stick to the meagre number this year too. Besides, the municipal body had hired three NGOs for plantation of 6000 saplings in 2011-12. However, it has no clue on the post-plantation status of the plantation drive by the NGOs.
The BDA, meanwhile, does not take up avenue plantation though it has a horticulture wing and is in charge of maintaining only a few parks in the city. With mercury already touching 40 degrees Celsius mark, lack of sufficient greenery is likely to multiply the woes of the city dwellers this summer.