Orissa has lost 10,000 ha (25,000 acres) of forest to facilitate mining and industrial operation in the State during past 10 years, from 2001 to 2010.

Replying to a query on extent of forestland diversion for mining and industries in State Assembly, Debi Prasad Mishra, Minister of Forest and Environment, said that during past 10 years (2001-02 to 2010-11), 8476.41 ha (20949.66 acres) for mining and 1785.07 ha (4411.004 acres) have been diverted according to Forest Conservation Act 1980.

However, in lieu of the forestland diversion, afforestation programme has been taken up on 12122.99 ha (29956.56 acres) of land. Of this 7233.38 ha (17874.07 acres) in forests while 4889.60 ha (12082.46 acres) in non-forest land are covered under afforestation programme.

Mr. Mishra, however, said the percentage of survival in the compensatory afforestation activities taken up at different location of the State varied from 30 per cent to 90 per cent.

To another question, the Minister said that during past six years use agencies had given Rs. 50.30 crore towards afforestation programme.

On the controversial proposed steel project by Posco, Mr. Mishra said about 2.90 lakh trees would be felled in Jagatsinghpur district. The IDCO had already started felling trees for the Posco project, he said. The Minister said that about 1,254 ha of degraded forest in Mahakalapada area in Kendrapara district was identified for afforestation programme in lieu of the tree felling in Posco project area. Besides, avenue plantation would be taken up in Ersama block.