*Deptts sleeping over directives of CS
JAMMU, Dec 14: Despite much visible adverse impacts of climate change during the past some years, the Jammu and Kashmir continued to remain unconcerned towards this grave issue as the implementation of the Action Plan approved by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests one and half year back has yet not began. The intensity of the non-seriousness can further be gauged from the fact that explicit directions issued by the Chief Secretary in this regard have not been taken seriously by almost all the departments.
Keeping in view all the aspects of the climate change in the entire country, the Union Government in the year 2010 held threadbare discussion with the Chief Secretaries of all the States where the necessity of developing the State Specific Climate Change Action Plan was felt.
Accordingly, the State Government institutionalized the J&K State Council on Climate Change on April 25, 2011 and after hectic exercise spread over three years, the State Climate Change Action Plan was formulated by incorporating the suggestions of almost all the departments about their respective sectors.
In the Action Plan, which was approved by the Steering Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in June 2014, Energy (Solar Mission and Renewable Energy); Enhanced Energy Efficiency; Water, Sustainable Habitat and Sustainable Agriculture were identified as key areas for immediate focus.
However, despite visible impacts of climate change in the form of unprecedented floods and droughts and melting of glaciers at rapid pace in the Ladakh region during the past some years, the State has not woken to the necessity of implementing the Action Plan, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
The non-serious approach is notwithstanding the fact that Union Government has even established the National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change to assist States in meeting the cost of adaptation.
“The intensity of the non-seriousness can be gauged from the fact that even the directives issued by the Chief Secretary, B R Sharma in a meeting held on September 23 this year have not been implemented by almost all the departments till date”, sources regretted.
The Chief Secretary, while discussing adaptation and mitigation projects that can be funded through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) under the Green Climate Fund and National Adaptation Fund, had asked the Administrative Secretaries to finalize the concept note on the projects by November 15, 2015 for onward submission to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
It was also revealed to the Administrative Secretaries that based on the acceptance and recommendations of the Union Ministry, State Government will prepare Detailed Project Reports and after sanctioning of funds, NABARD will coordinate with the State Government and initiate process for execution of the projects under its supervision, sources said.
They informed that only Agriculture Department has submitted concept note about two projects relating to rain-fed agriculture improvement in Jammu and Budgam districts on pilot basis while as none of the other departments has come up with the required information till date in blatant violation of the directives of the Chief Secretary despite repeated reminders from the Department of Ecology and Environment.
“All the concerned departments should have submitted at least one project of their respective sectors for submission to the Union Ministry but it is shocking that they are not taking climate change and its adverse impacts seriously”, sources said, adding “the non-serious approach of the departments is notwithstanding the fact that during the Climate Change Action Plan formulation they identified High Priority, Medium Priority and Low Priority sectors but now they are not ready to translate the same into reality”.
What to talk of other sectors, even no DPR has been submitted vis-à-vis flood management sector, which otherwise is very vital area keeping in view the devastation caused by the floods in the month of September last year, sources said, adding “it is due to lack of seriousness on the part of the concerned departments that implementation of Climate Change Action Plan has yet not began in Jammu and Kashmir”.
When contacted, a senior officer of the Department of Ecology and Environment admitted that unless necessary information is made available to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests no step can be taken towards implementation of Action Plan and for this the departments have to shun slackness and come up with concept notes and DPRs without wasting any more time.