BHUBANESWAR: With 32.34 per cent forest cover to the total geographical area, the State has far exceeded the national average of 21.34 per cent.
The Forest Survey of India (FSI) in its latest report has accounted 50 sq km growth of forest coverage in Odisha. At present, the forest coverage has increased to 50,354 sq km which is around 32.34 per cent of the total geographical area of the State.
“This growth in green coverage is possible mainly due to public involvement in protecting the forest through Vana Surakshya Samitis (VSS) and successful implementation of Ama Jungle Yojana,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) JD Sharma after a review meeting.
Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi on Tuesday reviewed plan and programmes of the Forest and Environment Department. Padhi directed the Department to focus on successful implementation of Ama Jungle Yojana (AMY), conservation of sacred groves, enhancement of kendu leaf operations and proper management of eco-tourism.
In 2015-16, afforestation has been done over 1,50,865 hectares (ha) while avenue plantation has been taken up along 4,607 km. Target has been set to take up afforestation over 5,27,302 ha and avenue plantation along 5100 km of road during 2016-17.
In kendu leaf operation, about eight lakh pluckers, 20,000 binders and 18,300 seasonal staff were provided employment and about `380 crore business conducted from sale of kendu leaf. It is expected that the kendu leaf business will touch `530 crore in the current season.