12 Jan 2023.
The Odisha government’s State-level steering committee for the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) has approved an annual plan of INR 1,086 crore for the 2023-24 fiscal year, with a focus on reducing man-animal conflicts. The plan was approved during a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary S. C. Mohapatra on January 11th, where various issues related to wildlife management and afforestation were discussed.
Wildlife Management and Conflict Reduction
Mr. Mohapatra raised the issue of wildlife management activities being carried out through CAMPA funds and stressed the need for relocation of villages from tiger reserve sanctuaries. He also emphasized the need to improve Very High Frequency (VHF) networking in all divisions to ensure constant monitoring and suggested the engagement of forest labor under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for 100 days of work. A comprehensive plan was also proposed to avoid human-animal conflicts, with the Chandaka Wild Life Division tasked with identifying all revenue forest patches to develop elephant corridors.
Afforestation and Forest Preservation
The CAMPA annual plan of operations (APO) for 2023-24, presented by the Chief Executive Officer, State Authority, CAMPA, Pradeep Raj Karat, mainly focuses on taking up plantations and other activities such as maintenance of old plantations, forest protection, fire protection, simultaneous silvicultural operations for bamboo forests, soil and moisture conservation activities in forest lands, wildlife management, relocation of villages from protected areas, and forest infrastructure development. The Chief Secretary also directed the concerned officials to prepare a comprehensive plan to avoid human-animal conflict.
Monitoring and Verification
The Chief Secretary also emphasized the need for monitoring afforestation programs using the CAMPA tracker and through satellite imagery every six months, with frequent inspections by senior officers to verify the progress. A joint meeting with the concerned department was also proposed to prepare a five-year action plan to upgrade forest roads to grade-1 metalling, with the material-intensive components such as culverts and causeways to be covered under CAMPA funding.
Additional Chief Secretary, Forest, Environment & Climate Change, Mona Sharma suggested that a plan made at the district level for combating forest fires will be discussed with the district collectors concerned for effective control of forest fires and should be uploaded in the public domain. She also suggested preparing a 5-year Action Plan for the improvement of forest roads, identifying all revenue forest patch.