Plantation Drive To Transform Hillocks Around Bhubaneswar Into Green Lungs Begins
Bhubaneswar: More than 4000 saplings of different species were planted at Bachhera Hill in Jatni, a major sub-urban of Bhubaneswar, to mark the launch of ‘Sabuja Pahada’ (Greening Hillocks) aimed at making up the loss of green cover owing to rapid urbanisation.
The project is being jointly carried out by Forest, Environment and Climate Change Department, Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and Khurda District Administration and would act as green lungs for the city and its periphery
Nearly 6000 people, including 2000 school students, thronged the site early on Monday morning to participate in the mega plantation programme. “With support of all stakeholders, we are planting around 8000 saplings at Bachhera Hill, which will be converted into an ecological park by BDA in the days to come,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Debidutta Biswal said.
According to official sources, saplings of wide variety of indigenous species, including fruit-bearing trees, timber, nuts and spices varities, were planted on five hectares of land at Bachhera Hill spread over 26 acres. The entire plantation area was divided into 11 zones, of which three zones were dedicated for students only while separate zones earmarked for SHG members and senior citizens. The participants’ name were tagged to the sapling. A detailed plan of action is being prepared for Bachhera Bio Reserve with experts which once completed will offer a whole gamut of activities such as camping, trekking, resting shelters, adventure, creative and trail experiences for visitors.
Jatni MLA Suresh Routray appreciated the mega plantation drive
“Protecting our environment should be a collective endeavor and community driven initiative. The objectives of tree plantations is to know the value of environment, benefits of trees, beautification in and around this (Bachhera Hill) area. Most importantly, tree plantation is a great way to increase students’ interest in their local environment and achieve academic goals for which we tried to involve more number of students in this programme,” Vice-Chairman, BDA, Balwant Singh said.
“It should be our collective responsibility to preserve and protect the green cover in and around living areas,” said Khurda collector K Sudarshan Chakravarthy.
Divisional Forest Officer, Khurda, Poornima P, who closely monitored the plantation drive, said: “Under Greening Hillocks project, we are aiming to transform places like Bachhara Hills into urban forests inside Jatni Municipality, which offers wilderness that is generally experienced in dense reserve forests, along with ensuring public amenities like nursery, walking trails, interpretation centre, parking, etc. Urban afforestation is the need of the hour. Without a healthy natural ecosystem and a green environment, no economy or mankind can sustain for very long.”
Under this initiative, the Forest Department and BDA aim to plant a whopping 30000 saplings within two weeks at three places. Next plantation drives are scheduled to be held at Sikharchandi Hill and Buddha Jayanti Hillock in the city through community participation.