The Odisha government has embarked on 'Mission Green Mahanadi' programme and decided to plant two crore saplings along the river banks. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the project would nurture the lifeline of the state. "Glad to announce Mission Green Mahanadi for protecting and nurturing the lifeline of Odisha; over two crore trees to be planted along its banks," he wrote in a Twitter post today. Patnaik recently approved a forest and environment department proposal to carry out the plantation drive on both sides of the Mahanadi river and its tributaries. An estimated Rs 200 crore will be spent in the first phase of plantation across both sides of the river, official sources said, adding that the project will check soil erosion and ground water recharge. The first phase of plantation will be undertaken on 200 sq km in 2018-19. The Odisha government's decision comes a few months after Madhya Pradesh created a world record by planting six crore saplings on the banks of Narmada. A team of forest officers from Odisha had recently visited Madhya Pradesh to make an on-spot assessment of the plantation drive. A member of the team that suggested a Narmada-like plantation programme to the CM said that the objective was to check erosion in the catchment areas, stabilise the embankments and improve bio-diversity along the river. "Over 75,760 hectare of government land and 47,470 hectare of private land will get a fresh green cover.
The saplings of mango, jackfruit and jamun will be used for the mission," Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray said.
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