Number of Urban Forest Parks will soon come up the vicinity of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. Chief Secretary of Odisha Suresh Chandra Mohapatra asked the concerned departments to do so while reviewing the progress of greenery and plantations in the urban areas in a high level meeting held on digital mode from LoksebaBhawan.
Additional Chief Secretary Forest and Environment Dr Mona Sharma outlined the issues for discussion.
Reviewing the progress of plantation and green coverage in the twin city area, Chief Secretary asked Odisha Forest Development Corporation (OFDC), City Forest Division, Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to work at tandem with ground level convergence for developing the urban forest parks in and around the twin city.
Mahapatra directed to develop at least seven such urban forests in the first phase and open those for the public.
Opening the urban forests to public would infuse a sense of belongingness towards city forests among the denizens, and, that itself would be a deterrent against the destruction and encroachment of the areas, Chief Secretary added.
The urban forest parks shall provide the facilities for morning walk, recreation, outing, fresh air and refreshment to the urban dwellers.
Chief Secretary Mahapatra said, the forest patches like Ekamra Kanana and Jayadev Vatika in Bhubaneswar is being managed well. Management of Jayadev vatika has proved a successful model.
Urban forest parks can be managed on the basis of self-sustaining revenue generating model by OFDC, added Dr Sharma.
It was decided that the urban bodies line BMC and CMC would provide infrastructural support like pathway, drinking water, electricity, picnic pindis etc. in the urban forest parks and OFDC would maintain the parks.
BMC Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Singh said, Mo Bus route will be extended near to the urban forest locations so that people could reach the spot easily. The online ticket booking for the places could be done through BMC site.
It was also decided to publicize the spots through BMC’s website, hoardings and electronic messages.
PCCF Harishankar Upadhaya appraised that six dense urban patches were developed in and around Bhubaneswar city. These included Ekamra Kanana, Medicinal plant knowledge center, Smruti Van, Ekamra Van and JayadevVatika.
Another upcoming urban forest was Nagar Van which will also be a potential spot for Urban Forest Park.
Similarly, two urban patches namely Nadna Van and Arogya Van were also developed in the Cuttack city area. These spots could be developed to urban forest parks with basic infrastructure, parking and amenities.
The meeting also explored the possibilities for development similar such urban forests surrounding the twin city.
Regional Chief Conservator of Forests Manoj Mohapatra presented the different plantation sites at Begachhia, Kishannagar, Odapada, Arilo, Brajabiharipur, Kampur, BhusauniPitha, Badagaon, Atoda, Mahanadi and Kathjodi embankment, CDA Sect-8, Nakshyatravana, Karadakanta, Madhupur, Baliapada, JagatpurAtoda, Orilo and Uttampur.
Managing Director OFDC Sri Rajiv Kumar said that plantation done in these areas under the programmes like Urban tea plantation, Odisha environmental fund management, Green Mahanadi Mission and Increasing green cover etc. had witnessed lofty growth with high density. These spots could be developed to the urban forest parks.
It was decided that a joint committee consisting of senior officers from concerned departments would make a field visit soon for identifying the spots to be taken up for urban forest in first phase.