Bhubaneswar: Old forest issues in the housing areas of Bhubaneswar Development Authority ( BDA) and Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) where people lived nearly four decades ago were resolved in a high level meeting held in virtual mode under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra from Lokseba Bhawan wherein Additional Chief Secretary Forest and Environment Dr Mona Sharma outlined the issues for discussion.
Considering different dimensions of the problems encountered by people who lived in Barmunda, Paikanagar, Kanana Vihar and Jyadev Vihar areas from 1970s, Mahapatra directed BDA to complete the forest diversion proposals in a month. He directed to undertake compensatory afforestation (CA) against the forest land to be diverted. ADM Cuttack and DFO Athagarh were asked to demarcate the land for CA out of the land already identified by the department of Revenue and Disaster Management (R & DM). Around 2000 households would be benefited by this intervention.
Further, Chief Secretary Mahapatra directed that no forest land should be alloted for CA. He directed to identify degraded revenue forests, and include those in land bank for CA so that no developmental project would halt for forest diversion issues.
Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) R & DM Satyabrata Sahu appraised that the land bank for compensatory afforestation was already created. Around 26,500 acers of degraded revenue forest land were identified in 18 districts during the month of January, 2022.
The districts like Keonjhar, Sndargarh, Bolangir, Jajpur, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Sambalpur, Angul, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda, Malkangiri, Nabrangpur, Nuapada, Subrnapur and Nayagarh contributed land to the land bank. Konjhar district led the suit with identification of around 10,800 acers of land in a month.
Additional Chief Secretary Sahu said that target was fixed to increase size of the land bank to 50,000 acers by March, 2022. He also fixed the ambitious target of brining in about one lakh hect of land to the fold of land bank for CA within a year.
It was decided in the meeting that Additional Chief Secretary R & DM would be the Nodal Officer for allotment of land for compensatory afforestation. The executing agencies of the developmental projects would approach the ADM (Revenue) of the concerned district for demarcation of land for CA out of the land bank.
Additional Chief Secretary Forest, Environment and Climate Change Dr Mona Sharma, Principal Secretary Housing and Urban Development Sri G. Mathivathanan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Sisir Kumar Ratho, Vice Chairman BDA Sanjay Kumar Singh, Special Secretary R & DM Avaya Nayak, Secretary Odisha State Housing Board Sagarika Pattnaik along with senior officers of concerned departments participated in the discussions.