Environmental budget on the cards as State aims to become carbon-neutral, says CM

Pinarayi Vijayan declares a government seed farm in Aluva as country’s first carbon neutral facility

December 10, 2022 07:26 pm | Updated 07:35 pm IST - KOCHI

Kerala’s Budget 2023-24 will be accompanied by a parallel document, depicting environmental costs and expenditures for environmental protection, as part of the State’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Saturday.

The Chief Minister was speaking at the official declaration of a government seed farm in Aluva as country’s first carbon-neutral facility.

To achieve carbon-neutral status, the State’s steps include an initiative to assess Athirappilly’s carbon footprint as well as a carbon certification programme. The State has allotted ₹3 crore for the project.

The State has also taken up a coffee programme in Wayanad district and various agricultural activities in Adivasi zones, he said.

As part of the State’s electric vehicles policy of 2018, measures such as converting 50% of ferry boats into solar boats and substituting conventional engines with solar engines in fishing boats are under way.

The State is also subsidising loans availed for electric autorickshaws with a view to encouraging use of new vehicles. Besides, the Kerala Automobiles Limited has plans to increase production as well as to export e-autorickshaws.

Globally, the Chief Minister pointed out, agriculture accounted for 30% of carbon emissions. In Kerala, carbon emission from agricultural activities stood at 3%. This will have to be brought down step by step even as the State aims to achieve self-sufficiency in food production.

Tree bank initiative

The State is also planning a tree banking initiative wherein people can avail of loans to plant trees. They will have to repay the loans only if the trees are felled.

“Plans are also afoot to install sufficient electrical charging units for electrical vehicles in the State as carbon emission from fossil fuel is a big contributor to climate change. Climate change is a threat both to food production and food security,” Mr. Vijayan said.

Minister for Agriculture P. Prasad presided at the meeting. Industries Minister P. Rajeeve, district panchayat president Ullas Thomas, Aluva municipal chairman M. O. John, Jebi Mather and Benny Behanan, MPs, Anwar Sadat, MLA, and District Collector Renu Raj were among those who spoke at the dedication of the Aluva seed farm as a carbon-neutral facility.

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