Bhubaneswar: In the wake of heavy loss to the City’s green cover due to Cyclone Fani, the civic authorities here have planned to scale up plantation of saplings to about 5,000 this year.
Every year, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) plants around 3,000 saplings in the 67 wards – an average of 50 saplings. However, as winds up to 200 kmph during Fani uprooted many trees in the City, the BMC has planned to increase the number of saplings to 5,000.
“While the estimates are still in process, a tentative loss of Rs 20 lakh has been incurred to the affected areas of BMC. Apart from BMC, other authorities will also be planting trees which include Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Odisha Forest Development Corporation (OFDC) and other private bodies,” said BMC environment officer Kapliendra Sethi.
The move has come against the backdrop of the Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) department’s plan to restore the green cover by planting tall trees. H&UD Minister Pratap Jena had said that since absence of trees will have an adverse impact on the climate, steps are being taken to replant above 10-feet tall trees in the Capital city.
Meanwhile, reports by botanists and experts suggested that almost 99 per cent of trees in the City suffered damage. While some were uprooted many others were broken. Thus, plant lovers and environmentalists have suggested that City administration must now focus on planting trees that could withstand strong cyclonic winds.
“The only positive we could take out is that just 10 per cent of the trees got uprooted. Although the fig plants like Ficus bengalensis and Ficus religiosa survived Fani’s fury, most of their branches were lost. Trees as chakunda (Senna Occidentalis) and kadamba (Anthocephalus) suffered the most damage,” explained Prasanna Dash, an environmentalist here.
However, native species such as karanja (Pongamia pinnata) and chhatiana (Alstonia Scholaris) which withstood the ferocious wind speed of Fani will get back much of their lost cover after monsoon. Since Odisha is a cyclone-prone state, plantation of such trees is very much required,” Dash added.
Furthermore, the BDA has decided to plant 23,500 saplings at 11 different sites across the city. The plantation will be taken up mostly in major city parks like Biju Patnaik Park (2,000), Indira Gandhi Park (1,000), Buddha Jayanti Park (1,500), Buddha Jayanti Park Hilltop (2,500), Madhusudan Das Park (2,000) and Netaji Subash Bose Park (2,000).