CM stresses on afforestation in state

Bhubaneswar: Stressing on afforestation, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday asked divisional forest officers (DFO) to ensure that ten times the number of trees felled for different projects were planted.

"It is the state government`s decision to keep around 33% of industrial complexes under tree cover and this would be strictly ensured," Patnaik told forest officials inaugurating the annual DFO conference.

Stipulations in forest diversion, rehabilitation of mined out lands and pollution mitigation measures should also be continuously monitored, he said adding felling of trees is inevitable for construction and widening of roads besides establishment of social and industrial infrastructure.

Last year 10.86 crore saplings were planted in the state over an area of 2,33,445 hectare. However, this time the government has targeted afforestation in over 2,25,000 hectare along with 1000 km of road side avenue plantation, said the secretary in the department of forest Aurobinda Behera.

"While 3.5 lakhs saplings will be planted in and around Bhubaneswar, another 4 lakh saplings would be planted in other cities of the state," Behera said.

Referring to the Posco issue, Behera said the department was committed to ensure that conditions put by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) were implemented in letter and spirit.