Coming together for green concerns

Industry and environmental activists are joining hands in Kashmir to discuss ways to coordinate concerns of economy and environment. Aliya Bashir reports.
In a first of its kind summit in Kashmir, trade leaders and environmental activists will hear each other out and put their heads together to chalk out green solutions to economic concerns.  
The Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCIK)  and the local chapter of Delhi based NGO Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN)  are organising a three day summit “Green Solutions” in Srinagar from May 25 on “Sustainable Industrial Development in J&K”.
The participants will discuss issues such as industrial development for sustainable economy of J&K, ecotourism, solid waste management, renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture and bio-diversity (organic farming, need for herbs for medicinal uses and wildlife), Banking (financial assistance for environment friendly techniques).
The initiative will focus on how to promote Industrial ventures along with measures to control environmental hazards in Red-Orange category (heavily polluted Industries) – minerals, leather, energy and chemical sector and Green-White category (small-scale Industries) -handicrafts, medical instruments, paper and toys.
Shakeel Qalandar, President, FCIK, says that this initiative should have been taken much earlier to boost overall industrial growth of the state. “Over a period of time, we have been listening to the environmentalists that industries are acting as a major pollutant. But, this time our motto is to ask them what can be done to save both economy and environment of our state,” he said.
For sustainable industrial development, the emphasis will be laid on the need for judicious, reasonable and planned use of the finite resources of land according to their natural environmental considerations. “I am very hopeful that there will be cross section of people from society involved in all sessions. We will come up with solid recommendations for policy makers, entrepreneurs, civil society and people at large,” Qalandar says.
Economic development and industrialization have become synonymous and are integral part of regional planning of the J&K state. In order to cater to the needs for environmental soundness, concrete measures with healthy industrial development will be primarily discussed in the summit.
“Setting up of industries on environmental criteria with the objective of minimizing adverse environmental impacts is an important prerequisite,” says Qalandar. “Our state lags behind in all economic developments as compared to other states. So we need to be very serious to make eco-friendly industries.”
Qalandar says that in order to create a balance between the industry and environment, they will discuss installation of pollution control devices.
“Instead of getting a license from any pollution control board, it is better to see what can be done together in order to safeguard overall problem of environment vis-a-vis promotion of industrial sector,” he said.
Reetu Asrani, National Level project coordinator IYCN, says the organisation through its branches all over the state was creating awareness about environmental betterment, but it is for the first time the two opposite sectors will join hands for an initiative for sound environment and economic growth of the state.
“We cannot protest against economic growth of the state in the name of environment,” says Reetu. “When industrialists are ready to take up our environmental issues, we don’t have any problem to solve together different issues pertaining to all of us.”
The technical sessions from various industrial consultants and environmentalists will offer their expertise for setting up small entrepreneur units along with benefits of soft loans and other financial units.
“Those who are interested to start their own business ventures, the training session will help in setting up of platform, through their franchise. This will give them a self-employed opportunity,” says Reetu.
In order to make this event more interactive and youth oriented, not only experts will have their say but youth will also get a platform to put their ideas across on related subjects. “We have invited youth from different colleges and universities from J&K, other states and south-Asian countries. Our prime focus is to ask for their suggestions to tackle the different challenges and come up with solutions, instead of the blame-game,” she says.


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