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Scheme to increase forest cover on anvil

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, Jan 22:

With an aim to increase forest cover in the state, the Odisha Government has decided to implement a scheme named “Ama Jangala Yojana” (AJY) for forest restoration, promotion of sustainable management of forest by strengthening participatory forest management and improvement of livelihood of forest dependent communities.

The scheme, to be implemented over a period of 8 years in three phases, will cover 5,000 Vana Surakshya Samitees (VSSs). 1000 VSSs will be taken up during the first phase, 2000 in the second phase and 2000 in the third. Besides, forest restoration will be taken up through Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) over an area of 5 lakh ha at an average of 50 ha per VSS.

“The Scheme will include activities such as ground survey, demarcation and mapping, micro plan preparation, capacity building, construction of community buildings, livelihood support, forest restoration support and NGO support,” said Raj Kumar Sharma, secretary, Forest and Environment.

The total cost of the scheme is estimated at Rs 517.125 crores. Out of this, Rs 424.625 crores will be sourced from CAMPA, Rs 50 crores from State Plan Scheme “Community Forest Protection and Management” and Rs 42.50 crores from NRLM, a Scheme of Panchayati Raj Department, said Sharma.

While the livelihood support component will be funded from NRLM through Income Generation Activities (IGA) by Self Help Groups (SHG), the expenses towards the establishment cost of the dedicated Community Forest Protection and Management Programme (CFPMP) Cell, salary of staff of CFPMP Cell, funding of smokeless Chula, NGO support and managerial expenses will be funded from the State Plan.

Other expenses such as ground survey, demarcation and mapping, micro plan preparation, capacity building and forest restoration will be funded through CAMPA.

“Ama Jangala Yojana scheme will be executed in a project mode through Odisha Forestry Sector Development Society (OFSDS). The dedicated CFPMP cell will be set up for day to day implementation, monitoring, supervision and management of the activities,” informed Sharma.