Editorial: Wake up

The September 2014 deluge, the Leh disaster and various unnoticed natural adversities in the state have not been enough for our policy planners to take the issue of climate change seriously.

Even though the natural disasters have been taking place in the state and luckily the people here have been saved most of the time for paying a heavy price, still the government and its officials seem to be unnerved to initiate various steps that could help to avert a major crisis in case any such disaster visits the state.

Climate change has been an emerging challenge to the world as such. However, as we belong to the third world order we seem to be contributing more in speeding up these disasters rather than helping to curtail them down to a minimum.

All countries around the world have studied this phenomenon scientifically and understood its impact on humans, animals and plants. Climate change is essentially the result of human beings treating nature with scant care and foresight and destroying ecology and environment for personal aggrandizement.

Rough treatment of water bodies, wanton deforestation, urbanization and destruction of pastures and meadows, melting of glaciers, floods, unusual rains or draughts all are the symptoms of climate change.

The Central Government through Ministry of Environment and Forests had

 responded to this phenomenon though belatedly. On June 30, 2008, Union Government released country’s first National Action Plan on Climate Change outlining the existing and future policies and programs to address climate related mitigation and adaptation measures. Accordingly, all the States were directed to come up with their own State Action Plan on Climate Change.

J&K was also asked to be in the loop especially because nestled in the lap of the Himalayan Mountains the entire state is easily and frequently vulnerable to climate change effect. It was expected that the State Government would give more than necessary attention to this plan particularly when in the year 2014 the state was afflicted with great disaster owing to unexpected floods.

Ironically, after much delay the State Climate Change Action Plan was prepared in 2014 and submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

But, the overall attitude of the State Government and its departments has not betrayed any sign of seriousness and urgency in the matter. Almost all key departments like Power Development, Science and Technology, Tourism, Health and Medical Education, Disaster Management, Agriculture Production etc were required to immediately prepare concept notes as per the 11 missions identified under the State Action Plan on Climate Change so as to pave the way for grant of funds under NAFCC. Only one department, namely the Agriculture Department prepared concept note and Detailed Project Report worth  Rs 22.52 crore which was cleared under NAFCC and accordingly first installment of Rs 2.86 crore was released during 2016-17 financial. The irony is that even this amount has not been expended because the department has not been able to produce Utilization Certificate which is mandatory for the centre to release next installments.

This attitude of the government and its officers can leave us running for cover if God forbid a major calamity strikes this part of the world. The government needs to wake up, the sooner, the better.

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