Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 19:
The Odisha government would invest Rs 1133.34 crore for development of forest resources in the state in the next seven years involving over 7000 Van Samrakhyana Samitis (VSSs).
A decision to this effect was taken at a high level meeting presided over by chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the State Secretariat here today.
It was revealed in the meeting that out of a total of 12,503 VSSs in the state, 2426 VSSs have been engaged under Odisha Forest Sector Development Project (OFSDP), which has helped develop 2.23 lakh hectares of forests in the first phase. Another 3000 VSSs would be engaged under OFSDP in the second phase.
The meeting decided to engage the remaining 7077 VSSs under Ama Jangala Yojana for development of 3.5 lakh hectares of forest resources under 44 Forest divisions of the state.
For implementation of OFSDP, the state government would arrange funds to the tune of Rs 1133.34 crore from CAMPA, MGNREGA and NRLM.
Under the project, each VSS would either remain in charge of management of 50 hectares of natural forest or would be given responsibility for afforestation on 10 hectares of land.
While a target has been set to complete afforestation work by 2018-19, the newly created forests would be maintained till 2021-22.
A project monitoring committee would be formed for successful management of the project work. The committee would be led by the Development Commissioner as its chairman with principal secretaries of Forest and Environment and Panchayati Raj, and principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) as other members and OFSDP director and PCCF (Project) as the convenor, official sources said.