Over 5,000 People Participate In Green Drive In Sikharchandi Hill In Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: In order to restore green cover in Sikharchandi hill in Bhubaneswar, thousands of people participated in a community afforestation programme on Sunday.

Jointly organised by Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Odisha Forest Development Corporation (OFDC), the ‘Sabuja Pahada’ (greening hillocks), a unique community plantation drive, received an overwhelming response from residents of Bhubaneswar and nearby areas.

According to a BDA press release, more than 5,000 people from different sections of the society planted and adopted around 3,400 saplings of different species on the area spread across 5 acre. Nearly 2,000 school and college students, hundreds of senior citizens and members of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), IT company representatives, differently-abled persons, members of Self-Help Groups (SHGs), market associations, religious associations, transgender community, NGOs, representatives of political parties and others joined the initiative.

The BDA has undertaken redevelopment of Sikharchandi hill to transform it to a major tourist attraction after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik approved the mater plan in January. The project will cover a patch of land measuring nearly 54 acre including the main temple and its surrounding areas.

The project area has been divided into four zones. As per the plan, the Zone 1 will have a parking facility, an amusement park for visitors and a developed space for other activities, including basic amenities. Similarly, Zone 2 will have a view point and a trekking route. Zone 3 and 4 will be developed for entertainment-based activities along with a community centre.

“The main purpose of this drive is to give a further boost to the green cover in and around this place by involving every section of the society. We always encourage people’s participation and their constructive suggestions to ensure sustainable and regulated development of Bhubaneswar and its iconic places,” said Balwant Singh, vice-chairman, BDA.

Giving details on the ongoing redevelopment and beautification works being carried out by BDA, Singh said a number of facilities such as public parking, community centre, children play areas, recreational centre, trekking route, eviction of encroachments, view point, battery-operated vehicles for differently-abled persons , Prasad shops, electric buses to the hilltop for tourists, dedicated and separate zones for picnickers among others are being constructed with an estimated cost of Rs 30 crore.

“People’s spontaneous participation in such plantation programme is key to get success and increasing the green cover in and around our surroundings. We should and must do something every day protect our environment for us and for our future generations,” said Suresh Pant, managing director, OFDC.

As many as 18,000 saplings of various species will be planted at Sikharchandi Hill and its foothills by end of this month. The BDA has earmarked a budget of around Rs 3.51 crore for the purpose. OFDC has taken up the responsibility of maintenance of these trees for five years from the date of plantation.

“We are committed to honour and maintain the natural and religious importance of Sikharchandi Hill by increasing the overall greenery,” said Sanjeet Kumar, RCCF Bhubaneswar Circle who is also in additional charge of GM, OFDC.

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