The move is taken with an aim to enhance efficiency of the Electronic Toll Collection system and provide seamless movement at the Toll Plazas, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways said on Monday.
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will plant 19,000 saplings to create a green belt along the National Highway-53 in Jajpur district. The Odisha Forest Development Corporation (OFDC) will take up the avenue plantation drive along the 40 km stretch connecting from Chandikhole to Duburi in Kalinga Nagar.
The plantation drive called ‘Green NH mission’ was formally inaugurated by the regional officer of NHAI Ram Prasad Panda at Baghabahali under Kalinga Nagar industrial complex area.
A public meeting was organised in this connection where NHAI Dhenkanal project director P.K Sabat, OFDC Jajpur Road divisional manager Jagannath Swain, Kabatabandha manager Rohit Lenka and environmentalist Maheswar Bal were present.
Regional Officer of NHAI Ram Prasad Panda said, “We will plant 18,981saplings along the 40 km stretch ChandikholeDuburi NH this year. The OFDC will carry out the avenue plantation work from today. The OFDC will take care of the saplings for five years”.
He said the NHAI authorities had cut many trees for widening the stretch of road and it would plant more trees, ten times the numer of those which have been cut, to cover the lost greenery.
Normally, saplings are looked after for three years after they are planted. In this case, the OFDC will take care of them for two more years to ensure a better survival rate, he said. Apart from the maintenance, the OFDC authorities will also put tree guards around each sapling and wire fencing along both sides of the road to protect them from grazing animals,” he added.
Indigenous species such as jamun, glaucious, neem, mango, karanj, ficus, peepal, cassia and duranta are the saplings that will be used from the many species available in the nurseries of the forest department.
“We have chosen indigenous species because they will be able to adapt better to the local conditions and grow faster than species from other regions,” said the Jajpur Road OFDC divisional manager Jagannath Swain.