Focus was on Maharashtra as the State has been reeling under drought

With Maharashtra being mauled by a drought worse than the one it faced in 1972, the Indian chapter of the Global Legislators’ Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) met State legislators and parliamentarians here to increase awareness of the impact of climate change at the State and district levels.

In a discussion hosted by the British High Commission in support of projects involving GLOBE and the Climate Parliament, Rajya Sabha member Vandana Chavan said the current drought was a grim pointer that ought to put climate change high on the agenda of top legislators representing Maharashtra.

The thrust at local levels would be on issues such as the cropping pattern and sustainable agriculture practices in drought-prone districts.

“Climate change has assumed critical importance in India in general and Maharashtra in particular given the pace of the State’s economic and industrial growth,” said Ms. Chavan.

Legislators led by Environment Minister Sachin Ahir discussed issues such as the rapid depletion of the water table in drought-hit regions like Marathwada and specific instances of the impact of climate change in Maharashtra like a 40 per cent reduction in mangrove forest cover over the last two decades and the threatened ecology of the Salim Ali lake in Aurangabad district.

“There is a tension between urban development and climate change, the objective through this forum is to bring about a win-win situation,” said Phil Marker, Counsellor (Energy and Climate), British High Commission, adding that India was already determined to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy and working with the U.K. on its National and State Action Plans on Climate Change.

  • ‘Climate change has assumed critical importance in India’

  • Issues such as rapid depletion of water table were discussed