Dhenkanal: Odisha will create a green belt along the banks of major rivers Mahanadi, Rushikullya, Brahmani and Baitarini.
Under the state government’s ‘Green Mahandi Mission’ 2018-19, the state started a drive to plant 2 crore saplings along River Mahanadi River and in 14 forest reserves across Odisha. But due to the high temperature and low water level in the rivers the state government has decided to plant trees on banks of four rivers including Brahmani. The main objective of the scheme is to rejuvenate the rivers.
The green cover will be on lands within a kilometre-radius of the river banks. Plantations will be created along the banks of Baitarani, Brahmani, Rushikulya and their tributaries in 2019-20, said a statement. The leftover areas of Mahanadi, Tel and lb will be taken up in 2019-20. The scheme will be implemented in five years (2018-19 to 2022-23).
Chief Secretary AP Padhi said the plan is to cover 41,300 hectare and 1,042 RKM of avenues. Of this, 10,000 hectare will be used for AR plantations, 30,000 ha for assisted natural regeneration and 1,300 ha for bamboo plantations.
The total outlay for the scheme is Rs 448 crore. Of this, Rs 415 crore is meant for plantations and Rs 33 crore for non-plantation activities, the statement said.
Dhenkanal district forest ranger Sudarshan Patra said 65,000 saplings will be planted along river Brahmani. The work will be completed in a year, he said.
Preparations have been started for planting trees on the banks of the Brahmani and its tributaries by the Forest Department. Trees like Phasi, Neem, Karanja etc will be planted on the banks of Brahmani.
The Forest Department plans to plant trees in areas coming under the Brahmani River basin. As per the plan, 5,000 trees will be planted in the Bhuwan Municipality area, 5,000 in the Khamakhyanagar Panchimanchal Range, 10,000 in Sadangi Range, 20,000 in Bhuwan and Mahabir Road and 10,000 in Dhenkanal Sadar Range.
The government has allotted Rs 8,50,000 to the Dhenkanal Forest Department for implementing the scheme. The Department has already spent Rs 50,000 from this.
The Forest Department said that they will protect the saplings with wooden tree-guards instead of iron ones as there are elephant herds near the Brahamani River’s bank.
At the state level, the green mission will be monitored by a 12-member committee headed by the Chief Secretary. There will be regular monitoring at the district and block levels too.
Regular monitoring on monthly, quarterly and yearly basis will be taken up at all levels of the Block Green Mahanadi Mission Committee, the District Green Mahanadi Mission Committee and the State Green Mahanadi Mission Committee.