Environment Ministry, PCI express concern over ‘slackness’
JAMMU, June 25: Notwithstanding the fact that Jammu and Kashmir has been categorized as sensitive from climate change point of view, the State Government has remained insensitive towards preparation of State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) and missed several deadlines set-up by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that since climate change has become a burning issue not only in India but across the world, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests prepared National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) few years back and accordingly asked all the States of the country to develop State Action Plans on Climate Change to define as to how they intend to undertake activities and programmes aimed at climate change mitigation.
“Since State Action Plans on Climate Change play a vital role in the implementation of the NAPCC and address the specific concerns of the respective States, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests took up the issue with all the States a number of times for timely preparation of SAPCC and submission of the same to Union Government”, sources said.
However, Jammu and Kashmir, which has already been categorized as sensitive by the Forests Survey of India (FSI) keeping in view adverse impact of development on agriculture land, glaciers, rivers, wetland and wildlife, has remained insensitive toward the preparation of State Action Plans on Climate Change, which is otherwise imperative to develop area and region specific strategies and actions to check increased environmental destruction, sources said.
Despite missing several deadlines of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, the State Government has only prepared first draft of the State Action Plan on Climate Change so far, they informed, adding during the past several months the draft has been lying with different stakeholders like Departments of Health, Industries, Rural Development, PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control etc for further refinement.
It would be only after these stakeholders submit their department-wise action plans after going through the first draft that the uniform State level Action Plan on Climate Change would be prepared by the Department of Environment and Remote Sensing, which has also established Jammu and Kashmir State Council on Climate Change, sources said, adding keeping in view the slow progress on this vital issue so far, no time-frame can be specified about the preparation of final Action Plan and its submission to the Union Government.
“The insensitivity towards this sensitive issue is notwithstanding the fact that Chief Minister is the head of the Council on Climate Change and Chief Secretary is the head of Executive Committee of the Council”, sources regretted.
“The slackness of the State Government towards preparation of Action Plan for Climate Change also received flak from the Planning Commission of India recently”, they said, adding “Planning Commission not only expressed serious concern over the failure of State Government to submit Action Plan for Climate Change but also delay in formation of State Biodiversity Board and Biodiversity Management Committee”.
They disclosed that Planning Commission has categorically directed the State Government to expedite the process of preparation of State Action Plan for Climate Change and constitution of Biodiversity Board as well as Biodiversity Management Committee.
It is pertinent to mention here that climate change has become a major threat to the State as earlier the insurgency contributed to the destruction of forest wealth and now big development projects have led to massive environment degradation in various parts of the State.
In such a scenario document like SAPCC is imperative to provide proper guidelines to various Government agencies while planning any infrastructural development project in future. The document like SAPCC assumes further importance in view of complex nature of climate change impact in three diverse regions of the State.
When contacted, Director Environment and Remote Sensing, Suresh Chugh admitted delay in the preparation of State Action Plan on Climate Change and said, “we had to submit the plan by March this year”.
“It is because of delayed start owing to various reasons that we could not submit the plan to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest in time”, he said, adding “we are gearing up the process and hopefully within next two-three months we would be able to submit the same”.