Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 23:
Amid growing concern expressed about the paucity of quality timber for construction of the three massive chariots for the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath in Puri, a project taken up to ensure more plantations all over Odisha was flagged off by the Gajapati Maharaja of Puri, Dibyasingha Deb on Sunday.
The project, christened ‘Jagannath Batika’, has been jointly launched by the SOA University and the socio-cultural organization ‘Prerana’.
“It’s time that we understand that our survival depends on the survival of the trees. It’s a scientific fact. We know about this but are more worried about other things including our livelihood,” the Gajapati Maharaja said while inaugurating the project at the Institute of Technical Education and Research (ITER), the faculty of engineering of SOA University in the presence of School and Mass Education minister Debi Prasad Mishra, DGP Sanjeev Marik, Swami Chidananda Saraswati, Mahanayak of Chhatisha Nijog of the Sri Jagannath Temple at Puri Janardan Pattajoshi Mohapatra, CMD of Nalco Anshuman Das, vice-chancellor of the Tirupati Sanskrit University, Prof Harekrushna Satpathy and vice-chancellor of SOA University Prof Amit Banerjeet.
The program was attended by hundreds of delegates from all over the state representing educational institutions and organizations.
The Gajapati Maharaja also referred to the Jagannath Bana Prakalpa, launched by the government a few years ago to ensure unhindered flow of timber required for the use of the Sri Jagannath Temple at Puri.
“The project began well, but we have no idea what happened thereafter,” he remarked.
Recalling his childhood days when Odisha was full of forest and teeming with wildlife, he said institutes, organisations and people should support the new program and plant trees wherever they had land available for use. “The corporate sector should also extend its support to this,” he said while congratulating SOA University and ‘Prerana’ for launching the project.
President of Prerana, Dilip Srichandan said under the new project, saplings of various trees including neem, phasi and asan would be provided to the people and institutions over a period of time to help greening of the state.
The Gajapati Maharaja said the Puri temple used to get its requirement of timber from the forests of Daspalla and Ranpur, but it was imperative to maintain the quality of the wood as it was not available now.
The School and Mass Education minister lauded the initiative saying it was time that humankind took care of nature for its own survival.
Those present on the occasion included eminent sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra, famous playback singer Prafulla Kar, cine actors Sabysachi Mishra and Archita Sahu, managing member of SOA University Gopabandhu Kar and CEO of Prameya Group Sunil Das.
ITER director Dr Manas Kumar Mallick felicitated the dignitaries on the occasion.