Bhubaneswar: The State-level, 73rd Vanamahotsav was observed here on Thursday. Chief Minister Naveen Pattanik chaired the programme through video conference as the Chief Guest in the presence of Forest, Environment and Climate Change Minister Pradeep Kumar Amat.
For a remarkable work in forest protection and afforestation, Jhurimal Vana Surakshya Samiti of Sundergarh District received Rs. 2 lakhs as reward as the best V.S.S. of the State.
Among others, Minister Ashok Chandra Panda, Mayor Sulochana Das, Local MLAs Sushant Rout, Anant Narayan Jena and Additional Chief Secretary Forest Department, Satyabarata Sahoo, were also present.
PCCF Odisha, Debidutta Biswal welcomed the Chief guest and other dignitaries and highlighted the importance and objectives of Vanamahotsava celebrated in the first week of July.
Yearly the forest cover of the state is increasing with the help of Forest Department through mass protection of existing forests and massive plantation throughout the state under various schemes of the State Government, he said.
To increase the forest cover, this year also different afforestation programmes are continuing throughout the State in rainy season through Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR), Artificial Regeneration (AR), Urban Tree Plantation (UTP), Avenue Plantation etc.
Under all the above programmes around 488.16 lakhs of seedlings are planned to be planted throughout the state and 490.30 lakhs of seedlings are raised to distribute among the public with minimal price and free for institutions, the department informed.
The medicinal value of plants was realized during the COVID-19 pandemic in last two years. So, plantation of medicinal plants along with forest species is also emphasized and encouraged by the State Government.
A brochure titled, “73rd Vanamahotsava” in Odia, highlighting the activities under different programmes and schemes of the State Forest Department was released on this occasion.
To raise awareness among the school students regarding Vanamahotasava, competitions like debate, essay writing and drawing were conducted and the winners of the above competitions were awarded on this occasion.