Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: A review meeting regarding the use of funds under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) was held today in Bhubaneswar.

Informing about the developments on the sidelines of the Steering Committee meeting of CAMPA, Principal Secretary of Forest and Environment department Mona Sharma said that 98 per cent of the sanctioned funds have been used.

Quoting a survey report of Forest Survey of India 2019, she said that forest cover across Odisha has increased significantly. The DGPA survey is being conducted by the Forest and Environment department through which the total forest over in Odisha can be ascertained in next four years.

"As per the new report from forest survey of India, about 274 km forest cover and 655 square km outside the forest tree cover have increased in Odisha. Apart from that, a lot of our practices in the state have been recognised at national level," said Sharma.

The Odisha government approved its annual action plan entailing an expenditure of Rs 803.65 crore under CAMPA for the 2020-21 fiscal to increase the green cover in the coastal state.

The action plan was approved by the state-level steering committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy.

The government decided to undertake various activities under the action plan, including block plantation, assisted natural regeneration, bald-hill plantation, maintenance of previous year's plantation, fodder and fruit-bearing plantation, bamboo culture and wildlife management.

A target has been set to take up plantation in 1,500 hectares, with 1,600 saplings per hectare during 2020-21 and to grow 5,71,48,000 seedlings during the period, said an official.

The issue of forest fire protection figured in the meeting. Rs 41.13 crore was approved for maintenance of the fire protection line, operation of 216 fire protection squads and support to the Vana Surakhya Samiti (VSS) for fire protection work, the official said.

Uma Nanduri, chief executive officer of CAMPA said a total of 55,534.40 hectares of forest area has been diverted for different purposes. Against this, 72,606.57 hectares have been marked for compensatory afforestation.

(With IANS inputs)