Odisha gets Centre’s nod to clear forest land for irrigation project

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Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi had discussed the issue with Union Environment and Forests Minister Bhupender Yadav during his recent visit to New Delhi…reports Asian Lite News

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has approved the diversion of 1,524.17 hectares of forest land for the Brutanga irrigation project in Odisha’s Nayagarh district, officials said on Tuesday. The state government has awaited this approval for 30 years. The project will provide irrigation to 23,000 hectares of land.

A letter from Assistant Inspector General of Forests Dheeraj Mittal on Monday confirmed the final approval under the Van (Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan) Adhiniyam, 1980, for non-forestry use of the land. The legal status of the diverted forest land will remain unchanged, and the state must ensure compensatory afforestation on 1,524.17 hectares of non-forest land. This afforestation must occur within two years, planting at least 1,000 plants per hectare.

If planting this many saplings in the area is not possible, the balance will be planted in other forests. The state must also take mitigative measures to minimize the project’s adverse impact on forests and wildlife, including setting up anti-poaching camps and constructing watch towers.

Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi had discussed the issue with Union Environment and Forests Minister Bhupender Yadav during his recent visit to New Delhi, according to the Chief Minister’s Office statement.

Recently, President Droupadi Murmu expressed concern over the terrible series of heatwaves witnessed in many parts of the country during the summer and flagged that extreme weather events have become more frequent around the globe in recent years.

President Murmu, who is in Odisha for the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra, visited Puri’s Golden Beach and shared images from the visit on Monday.

Taking to X, President Murmu wrote in a series of tweets, “There are places that bring us in closer touch with the essence of life and remind us that we are part of nature. Mountains, forests, rivers and seashores appeal to something deep within us. As I walked along the seashore today, I felt a communion with the surroundings – the gentle wind, the roar of the waves, and the immense expanse of water. It was a meditative experience”

“It brought to me a profound inner peace that I had also felt when I had a darshan of Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannathji yesterday. And I am not alone in having such an experience; all of us can feel that way when we encounter something that is far larger than us, that sustains us and that makes our lives meaningful,” her post added.

“In the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, we lose this connection with Mother Nature. Humankind believes it has mastered nature and is exploiting it for its own short-term benefits. The result is for all to see. This summer, many parts of India suffered a terrible series of heatwaves. Extreme weather events have become more frequent around the globe in recent years. The situation is projected to be far worse in the decades to come,” Murmu said.

Expressing concern over global warming and its impact, Murmu said, “More than seventy percent of the surface of the earth is made up of oceans, and global warming is leading to a rise in global sea levels, threatening to submerge coastal areas. “The oceans and the rich variety of flora and fauna found there have suffered heavily due to different kinds of pollution.”

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