BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has launched a new programme, ‘Green Mahanadi Mission’ under which plantation will be undertaken in 16,500 hectares over one km width on both sides of river Mahanadi, Tel and Ib covering 1,303 villages of 15 districts through of people’s representatives and all stakeholders for maintaining perennial flow of the rivers. The new scheme was discussed at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik where he reviewed the activities of the Forest and Environment Department.
Forest and Environment Minister Bijoyshree Routray told mediapersons that voluntary relocation of five villages, two each from Satkosia Tiger Reserve and Hirakud Wildlife Sanctuary and one from Similipal Tiger Reserve has been successfully completed by the Department during the last two years.
During the last four years, 13.4 lakh hectares has been afforested along with avenue plantation over 18,434 square km area.
The State Government claimed that degraded forests have been restored with the involvement of 2,640 Vana Surakhya Samities (VSS) at an investment of Rs142.75 crore within three years under a new initiative ‘Ama Jungle Yojana’.The eco-tourism scheme is also being implemented from 2016-17 by providing livelihood support to members of 229 VSS and developing 36 nature camp sites in 15 districts.
A standard operating procedure (SOP) has been formulated in Odia for combating forest fire. Besides, an area of 151.47 square km has been evicted out of the total encroached area of 188.2 square km in Chilika lagoon. Due to eviction of gherries, there was an increase of fish production by 20 per cent, sea grass and meadows grew, sponge has appeared and colonisation of Irrawady dolphin are seen in new areas and new habitats of migratory birds have developed.