Report by Badal Tah, Rayagada: Inaugurating the district level Vana Mahotsav which culminated on Friday after the block level celebrations, the District Collector Mrs Guha Punam Tapas Kumar appreciated the roles taken up by the school students of the district. Addressing them as “Guardians of the trees” in a gathering at Anjiapeta railway ground and explaining the water cycle, she asked the students to be the messengers of plantation to their peer groups, their parents & guardians and community at large. She informed that the district administration has taken up massive plantation drive on a convergence mode through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme(MGNREGS) involving forest, agriculture, horticulture, block, ITDA, watershed agencies. She applauded the efforts of forest department for avenue plantation. The schools have been instructed to go for more and more K.lime and papaya plants in their campus. Though this activity was taken up by the schools yesteryear, it was not satisfactory. So this year the work will be on mission mode including Anganwadi centres. The railway ground, which was a waste dump yard till recently, will be converted as an Eco-Park with the joint effort of Railways and Forest department. It is a historic step for Rayagada people, Said Guha.
On this occasion hundreds of forest species and medicinal plants were planted by the Collector, SP, DFO & other forest officials, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Assistant District Education Officer, students of various schools and local scribes on the railway ground beside NH-326. Local youth club of Royat Colony has come forward to assist the forest department in protection and conservation of these plants.
Sri Rahul P R, newly joined SP of Rayagada, said that his life became meaningful today by beginning the day with planting a sapling. He assured the august gathering to ally with such noble initiatives in the future. Sri Sanjiv Reddy, DFO told about these ceremonial mass plantation which led to planting of 1,12,000 seedlings in the entire district of Rayagada only this year. 3,75,000 plants were distributed in the public to elicit public participation. Reddy promised to bring the Eco-Park into a shape within three months. Deputy Director Horticulture drew simili of a plant with that of a baby and described that a plant in its lifetime contributes around Rs.4 crores. Deputy Director Sri Khuntia and Assistant DEO Mrs Anaesthesia Kerketta, Sri Srinivas, ADAM-Railways spoke vividly.
SP Rahul felicitated two Vana Sangrakhyan Samitis(VSSs) namely Jambu VSS of Rayagada Range and Baramahal VSS of Muniguda range with Biju Pattanaik Forest Protection & Conservation Award-2017. Sri Alekh Chandra Samal, Asstt Conservator of Forests(ACFs), who moderated the entire event, informed that Rayagada district had become 2nd in plantation in the state. The state govt has fixed a target of planting 50 lakhs of trees in the state and Rayagada will cross its target. He told that with this commitment & pace, India can contain pollution level to the optimum like Mozambique, which is in the 1st position in taking up anti-pollution measures. Sri P K Bhatra, ACF extended vote of thanks.