BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Government on Wednesday decided to bring 7,000-odd Vana Samarakhana Samitis (VSS) under the cover of Ama Jungle Yojana to develop forest resources.
A meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik revealed that the Government plans to spend Rs 1,133 crore over a period of seven years for enriching the forests.
There are about 12,503 VSSs in the State out of which 2,429 units are managed under the Odisha Forestry Sector Development Programme (OFSDP). The Government claims that it has managed to develop forestry resources over 2.23 lakh hectare under this programme and plans to bring in another 3,000 VSSs under the fold of OFSDP.
The rest 7.077 VSSs would be covered under Ama Jungle Yojana, the meeting decided and approved a plan of action. It aims to enrich 3.5 lakh hectare forest land spread across 44 forest divisions. The Government plans to source Rs 1,133 crore from CAMPA, MGNREGA and NRLM schemes. The operations would start from 2015-16 and continue till 2021-22.
As per the plan of action, each VSS would be given 50 hectares natural forests for management or afforestation on 10 hectares of land. While the objective is to complete the afforestation works by 2018-19, maintenance and protection would continue till 2021-22. Each VSS would get Rs 1.5 lakh for its own office premises.
The meeting also decided that a project monitoring committee would be continued to oversee successful implementation of the programme. Development Commissioner would be the chairman of the committee while Secretaries of Forest and Environment and Panchayati Raj Departments as well as Principal Chief Conservator of Forests would be the members. Project Director of OFSDP-cum PCCF (Projects) will be the member-convenor of the monitoring panel.
Chief Secretary GC Pati, Development Commissioner UN Behera and Additional Chief Secretary of Finance Department R Balakrishnan were also present at the meeting.