The Environment Committee of State Legislative Council has called for departmental interaction among various departments to have consensus required to face the challenges posed by global warming and climate change in the State.
The Committee which met here Wednesday, under the chairmanship of Dr. Bashir Ahmad Shah (Veeri) held threadbare discussions on the impacts of climate change and its impacts on forests and the initiatives being taken by the Government in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Committee observed that there has been significant improvement in scientific understanding of climate change in the past 20 years. The Committee also observed that glacial melt in the Himalayas is expected to increase flooding, rock avalanches from destabilized slopes and affect water resources and decreased river flows as the glaciers recede.
The Committee opined that the State has suffered substantially due to lack of planning to cover environment and deforestation which has caused environmental hazard, especially the natural resources. The Committee was of the view that the State has been blessed with rich natural resources and healthy environment and all out efforts should be made to protect these with the coordinated approach and involvement of various stakeholders.
The Forest Department gave a comprehensive Power Point Presentation on climate change and its impact on forests of the state before the House Committee. The presentation, inter-alia, touched on the areas of depleting forest cover and its impact on water availability, flora and fauna and the environment. The meeting was informed that in future the temperature is likely to increase, however the State would also experience greater rainfall. The Forest Department is ambitiously targeting covering 66 percent area with forests as against the present coverage of only 42 percent.
The Chairman and the Members of the Committee registered their concern on depleting forests as also ruthless felling of trees including Chinars. During the deliberations it was suggested that Horticulture plantation could be encouraged on the wastelands on PPP mode. Further it was suggested that Ladakh region could be made greener as with the new power projects, the water availability there can be ensured. The Chairman suggested that inter departmental deliberations are a must to evolve a consensus on future road map for sustainable eco-system.
Legislators, Naresh Kumar Gupta, Vijay Bakaya, Showkat Hussain Ganai, Syed Muhammad Rafiq Shah and Muzaffar Parray attended the meeting.
Besides, Commissioner-Secretary, Agriculture Production, Dr. Asgar Samoon, Commissioner Secretary Revenue Sheikh Ejaz Iqbal, Chief of Forest Force and Chairman Pollution Control Board, Vinod Ranjan and senior officers of Forest Department and Legislative Council also attended the meeting.