By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, February 11, 2020: The Odisha government on Tuesday decided to spend Rs 803.65 crore under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in 2020-21 to increase the green cover in the coastal state.

The state-level steering committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy approved its annual action plan to undertake various activities such as block plantation, assisted natural regeneration, bald-hill plantation, maintenance of previous year’s plantation, fodder and fruit-bearing plantation, bamboo culture and wildlife management.

The action plan set a target of taking up plantation in 1,500 hectares, with 1,600 saplings per hectare during 2020-21 and to grow 5,71,48,000 seedlings during the period, said an official.

The issue of forest fire protection also figured in the meeting and the committee approved Rs 41.13 crore for maintenance of the fire protection line, operation of 216 fire protection squads and support to the Vana Surakhya Samiti (VSS) for fire protection work, the official said.

“As per India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019, the forest area in Odisha has increased by 274 sq km from 2017 to 2019. Besides, tree cover has also increased by 655 sq km,” informed Uma Nanduri, chief executive officer of CAMPA.

Nanduri said a total of 55,534.40 hectares of forest area has been diverted for different purposes.

Against this, 72,606.57 hectares have been marked for compensatory afforestation.

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