Bhubaneswar: The State-level Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA) has approved Annual Action Plan of 2021-22 with a total outlay of around Rs.903.39 crore. The major activities included block plantation, assisted natural regeneration, bald hill plantation, regeneration of bamboo forest, maintenance of previous year plantation, fodder & fruit bearing plantation, bamboo culture, wild life management, infrastructure development, capacity building research and evaluation.

Target was set to take up plantation in 40,494 hectors and bamboo culture over 75000 hectors. The soil and moisture conservation works would be taken up over 7000 hects. The old road side plantation over 154865 hect would be maintained.

The CAMPA committee meeting held under the chairmanship of chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, here recently, took note of the Center’s recognisation of Odisha as a lead State so far as forest management is concerned.

The India State Forest Report of 2019 has projected Odisha as a “Lead State” in different parameters of afforestation and forest management through application of technology. State’s initiative for DGPS survey of the entire forest land of 60,991 kms with latest techniques has proved to be very useful in monitoring of forest area, wild life and maintenance of different assets. The method has been accepted as a best practice at national level.

Reviewing the CAMPA projects, chief secretary Mohapatra directed to increase green coverage on bald hills through plantation and regeneration activities during the year 2021-22. He also directed to create digital data base of all the forest assets and upload those on public domain with regular updating. The department was asked to put in place a robust system for ground level monitoring and public disclosure.

Further, Mohapatra asked the forest and environment department to create a land bank for compensatory afforestation and protect the identified land from human intervention so as to allow natural regeneration on that land. The department was also asked to prepare a three year action plan for making the forest roads motorable at least for easy availability of health and emergency services at the remote villages. He also directed to do solar fencing along the forest boarders involving the people of the adjoining the human habitation for preventing the man-animal conflict.

The development commissioner Pradeep Kumar Jena advised to do third party assessment of the pre and post green cover density against each plantation project. He added, “All plantation projects should have monitorable objectives in terms of increase in green density and soil & moisture conservation.”

Principal chief conservator of forests Sandeep Tripathy said, “As per ISFR- 2019, the forest area in Odisha has increased by 274 sq kms within the year 2017 to 2019. Besides, tree cover area has also increased by 655 sq kms. Odisha has been projected as a lead State in different parameters of forest management and has been placed at 6th position at national level”.

CEO CAMPA Uma Nanduri said, “as of now total area of 56,958.73 hect of forest area have been diverted for different public and developmental purposes in Odisha. Against this, afforstation has been done in 67,828 hect”. The meeting set the target for plantation over 3,603.03 hect during the period of APO 2021-22.

Additional chief secretary forest & environment Dr Mona Sharma and principal secretary finance Ashok Kumar Meena participated in the deliberations.