Workshop focuses on sustainable and inclusive mountain development
The need for balancing economic and environmental concerns was stressed by Saumitra Chaudhuri, Member, Union Planning Commission, while participating as the chief guest at the inauguration of a three-day all India workshop on, “Sustainable and Inclusive Mountain Development” organised by the Nilgiri Documentation Centre (NDC) in association with the Department of Science and Technology, the Indian Overseas Bank, and the Hill Area Development Programme here on Sunday.
Stating that conservation of natural resources particularly water is very important, he said that the solution to water related problems lies in evolving newer ways of utilising the resource.
Expressing the view that construction rules which apply to the plains should not be recommended for the hills, he said that suitable technologies should be adopted for the latter. The State Governments should decide on what is suitable for different areas. Depending on the localities the extent of land that can be developed should be worked out. Underscoring the suitability of horticulture in hill areas, Dr.Chaudhuri said that farmers should also go in for protected agriculture.
He cautioned that if income becomes scarce in hill areas, people will start moving to the plains. It will lead to a serious problem. Monoculture should be discouraged and efforts should be made to restore the original forests.
K.C. Chakrabarty, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India, said that efforts are being made to promote green banking. In order to ensure sustainable development, conserve the environment and promote environmental awareness among the people a question, “can we do paperless banking” is being asked by the RBI. A study carried out in the United States of America had shown that by sending bank statements online millions of trees can be saved in just a year. Pointing out that social and environmental issues are inter-related, he said that the objective should be to bring about maximum growth with limited use of resources.
Stating that without the active involvement of the local people no programme can succeed, he said that in promoting inclusive banking the Nilgiris has the potential to be projected as a model. All banks should join hands to achieve this. M.Narendra, Chairman, IOB, said that the mountains should not be seen as objects of commercial value and they should not be exploited. At the same time the cause of development should not suffer. There is still a long way to go in achieving the objectives of inclusive growth.
Dharmalingam Venugopal, Director, NDC, said that all should help in saving the beleaguered mountains. The Nilgiris Conservation Award of the Save Nilgiris Campaign was given to Mr. Chakrabarty and Mr. Narendra.