'Green Bonus' to Himalayan states

'Green Bonus' to Himalayan states

Modalities of financial incentive being discussed, says Jairam Ramesh

 Addressing the two-day conclave of Himalayan chief ministers which culminated in a “Shimla Declaration on Sustainable Himalayan Development” here on Friday, the minister said modalities of the financial incentive to the Himalayan states were being discussed with the Finance Commission and the Planning Commission.

He said the Centre acknowledged the contribution of the Himalayan states in persevering natural eco-systems and would suitably reward these states which sustain six crore humanity and constitute 15 per cent of geographical area of the country.

Earlier, Himachal Chief Minister P K Dhumal read out the Shimla Declaration which envisages establishment of a “Himalayan Sustainable Development Forum” by institutionalising the agenda of climate change in the Himalayan states.

The Forum would be coordinated by the G B Pant Himalayan Institute of Environment and Development.

The declaration was the result of the two-day discussion on “Indian Himalayas: Glaciers, climate change and livelihoods”, in which experts from the government, research institutions, business, civil society and media held deliberations.


Stressing that the Himalayan eco-system was inter-connected and could not be studied in isolation, Ramesh called for greater regional cooperation with neighbouring countries like China, Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal.

“There are security concerns and defense and strategic angle is also involved, but it is possible to have regional cooperation to have a comprehensive study of the problems of climate change involving the Himalayan eco-system,” he added.

Reiterating that there is not enough credible data available on the extent of melting of Himalayan glaciers, Ramesh said his ministry and the department of science and technology had instituted elaborate studies which would map the pace of the retreating glaciers and study the why and how of the phenomenon.

“This report would be available in the next three to four years,” he said adding that his ministry would disseminate the data on glaciers every year with policy formulations to check the phenomenon. He stressed for more in-depth research and independent investigations to sort the clutter of conflicting data on climate change and health of glaciers.

Speaking about controversies surrounding environmental clearance to hydel power projects, Ramesh stressed upon undertaking environment assessment of whole river basins instead of individual projects.

Earlier, Himachal Chief Minister P K Dhumal in his speech said Himalayan eco-system was known for its fragility and the dependence of millions of people of northern states on them for their survival and livelihoods.