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Anti-Posco villagers plan plantation drive to regain protective cover


OST Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 21:

While normalcy is returning slowly at the proposed Posco site, hit hard by cyclone Phailin, the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti(PPSS) has decided to undertake a massive plantation programme to compensate for the loss of the huge ‘protective green cover’ following felling of an estimated 1,70,000 trees to clear the area for the South Korean steel project, a PPSS press statement said.

Although the local betel farmers have suffered great losses, cyclone Phailin was thankfully far less severe than the 1999 super cyclone.

“But the loss of the protective green cover has made our area extremely vulnerable to calamities like the cyclone,” the PPSS release said adding the local people who have had a series of meetings have expressed grave concern over the degradation of forest cover in the area.

“ We have decided to observe ‘Protect and Promote Forest Week’ from November 15 to 21 along the coast and in the surrounding villages. We are planning to plant mango, coconut, lemon, sapeta, Casuarina, Akasia trees in our area with the help of voluntary labour from local people,” the release said.

“We have resolved to protect and promote the forest cover in order to save our lives and livelihood in future from such natural calamities. Our main task now is to conserve the soil, the water, the forest and the coastal belt. We have seen in the past, particularly during the super cyclone of 1999 how tidal waves devastated our life, livelihood and habitation. We would not like to see a repeat show, “ said the PPSS in its release.

The PPSS has also sought help and support from the civil society and people at large for their plantation drive.