The Odisha government has identified 26,500 acres of degraded revenue forest land in 18 districts to undertake compensatory afforestation works, officials said here on Wednesday.
While attending a meeting conveyed by Chief Secretary S.C. Mahapatra to discuss forest diversion issues, Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue, Satyabrata Sahu said that the government has created a land bank for compensatory afforestation.
Around 26,500 acres of degraded revenue forest land were identified in the districts like Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Jajpur, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Sambalpur, Angul, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Subarnapur, and Nayagarh. Keonjhar itself has identified 10,800 acres of land in the month of January for the land bank, he said.
Sahu, has been nominated as the nodal officer for allotment of land for compensatory afforestation projects, said that the target was fixed to increase the size of the land bank to 50,000 acres by March and about one lakh hectare of land within a year.
According to officials, the executing agencies of the developmental projects would have to approach the Additional District Magistrate, Revenue of the district concerned for demarcation of land for compensatory afforestation out of the land bank.
Old forest diversion issues in the housing areas of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and the Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) where people started living nearly four decades ago were resolved in the meeting.
Considering the problems faced by people who are living in Barmunda, Paikanagar, Kanana Vihar and Jyadev Vihar areas of Bhubaneswar city from the 1970s, Mahapatra directed the BDA to complete the forest diversion proposals in a month. He also asked to undertake compensatory afforestation against the forest land to be diverted. Around 2,000 households would be benefited by this intervention, the officials said.