Deforestation in Odisha

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More than 57k hectares of forested land diverted in the state of Odisha, states new report

Forest land diverted in Odisha…learn about the stats

Wednesday, 9th June 2021

The state of Odisha happens to be one of the country’s most natural disaster-prone states. Recently about 57, 410 hectares of forested land in the state has been diverted for non-forestry use as per a report from the Odisha Government. As per the yearly activities report of 2019-2020 published on March 2021 by the Forest, Environment and Climate Change Department previously referred to as the Forest and Environment Department the given data has been presented: 

  • 28,409 hectares of forest land was diverted towards 186 projects related to mining.
  • 10,652 hectares was diverted for 84 projects related to irrigation.
  • 4,405 hectares of land was diverted for 29 projects related to industries.
  • 4,339 hectares of land was diverted for 70 projects related to transmission.
  • 3,865 hectares of land diverted for 4 projects related to the defense sector.
  • 2,433 hectares of land diverted for 20 projects related to the railways.
  • 101 hectares of land diverted for the purpose of exploratory minerals drilling in the forests.
  • 846 hectares of land diverted for state government-run small public utility projects.

The forested zones of the state amount to 61,204.17 sq km in total and, that makes nearly 40% of the state’s net geographical area as per state records.

In the year 2019, the Forest Survey of India had declared that the net forest cover in the state is 51, 619 sq km; i.e. 33% of the net geographical area in the state. Also, an increase of forest cover by 274 sq km across a span of 2 years since the year 2017 has been noted by FSI.

Also Read: Our planet is at the risk of hitting the limit of temperature soon.

About 18,500,748 trees in the state were felled between the time period of 2010-11 and 2020-21 for the purpose of road widening, stated Bikram Keshari Arukh, the state’s forest and environment minister during a state assembly meeting on March 30, 2021.

During that same period, nearly 2,983,573 trees were also planted in the state under the state’s afforestation venture in order to make up for the felling of trees, Arukh added.

An environmentalist known by the name of Biswajit Mohanty said that the government was unsuccessful in adhering to the guidelines related to compensatory plantation while the felling of trees was being executed. He said that at least 2 & 10 times the total number of trees uprooted was supposed to be planted by the various governmental agencies as per the guidelines.

SN Patra, the Odisha Environmental Society’s president observed that rampant forested land diversion and wanton felling of trees for the widening of roads are the main triggers for frequent natural disasters in the state such as cyclones, floods, and droughts.

Sanjit Patnaik, the director of the South Odisha Voluntary Action which is a Koraput-based NGO, observed that forest land diversion has adversely affected the livelihood of people who dwell in the forests and depend much on the forest wildlife and minor produce from the forests. He further urged the Odisha Government to lessen the usage of forested land for non-forestry development works for the sake of the environment.

Sudhir Rout, the founder of an organization called Aryabhatta Foundation that works chiefly towards plantation and conservation of trees said that the roadside trees could have been conserved via translocation.

The News Talkie Bureau



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