Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal who is taking a lead in making the tiny hill State a totally carbon neutral State has said that the policy concerning the allotment of micro and mini-micro hydro electric projects to private companies can be reviewed in future.
The hill State is facing massive agitations by environmentalists and local residents against these projects since they are resulting in complete drying up of neighbouring water sources and ending the minor irrigation facilities in the countryside. “We would be making a comprehensive environment master plan shortly,” he said.
While talking to the media person after his return from Costa Rica Mr Dhumal said the World Bank has recognised the efforts of hill State in running the Mid Himalayan Watershed project in some Panchayats and it is likely to consider the $ 500 million State’s proposal to extend it to another 2500 panchayats.
The State Government has proposed programmatic environment development policy loan (DPL) for Himachal Pradesh to World Bank to promote sustainable development and adaptation to climate change in the identified priority sectors.
Mr Dhumal also talked about the initiation of a market based instrument, ‘PES’ (Payment for Eco System Services) for maintenance, conservation and expansion of Himalayan flora and fauna on the lines of one being run in the Central American greenest State of Costa Rica.
An authorised agency called FONAFIFO under the Ministry of Environment and Forests is implementing the PES services there and ready to enter into a MoU with Himachal. The PES model is practised in afforestation, conservation, protection and biodiversity, water and eco tourism in Costa Rica, he said.
He said there is a need for a comprehensive CAT (Catchment Area Treatment) plans and sectoral co-ordination from top to bottom while constructing any project in the State. Initiation of a green building code and greening of industry in the State will be made mandatory, he added.