To raise an army of eco-warriors who can conserve dwindling forest cover and depleting natural resources, chief minister Raghubar Das on Friday announced the Mukhyamantri Jan-Van Yojana, a special scheme to offer incentives to individuals or organisations for minimising carbon footprint in Jharkhand.
According to an initial draft, the government will provide 50 per cent input cost to those who take up plantation on private land. The two top green schools will receive Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000, along with citations. For organisations (NGOs/companies), Rs 2 lakh (one award), Rs 1 lakh (two) and Rs 50,000 (four) have been earmarked as prize money.
With more than 30 per cent forest cover, the state is home to many sanctuaries, but is not insulated from vagaries of the weather and global warming. Caught at the crossroads of growth aspirations, environment concerns and safeguarding rights of forest dwellers, a 15-year old Jharkhand has to tread carefully.
Addressing the inauguration of a daylong seminar in Ranchi on sustainable use of resources to mark World Environment Day, Das conceded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Jan-Dhan Yojana had inspired his new scheme.
“Like, Modiji’s jan-dhan scheme, I am launching a jan-van yojana to spur a public movement against climate change. We want industrialisation and jobs, but at the same time, we wish for a greener environment, too. The government can’t achieve this goal alone; it needs its janata (people) to effect positive changes. We shall recognise every individual and organisational effort towards environment conservation,” the chief minister said.
Das said that a detailed plan on how his government intended to implement this flagship scheme would be unveiled in 15 days’ time. “The first set of awards will be given away on November 15, our Statehood Day,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the chief minister planted a sapling in Kusai Colony of Doranda to formally launch the annual mass plantation drive across Jharkhand. Forest officials said the department had set a target of planting 3.15 crore saplings.
Present at the functions were food and civil supplies minister Sarayu Roy, forest secretary A.K. Singh, PCCF B.C. Nigam and JSPCB chairman A.K. Mishra among others.
Roy, one of the most vocal ministers in Das’s cabinet, slammed PSUs for abusing local resources and the climate. “A couple of days ago, I had been to Tori platform in Chandwa (Latehar) and discovered that CCL had converted it into a coal siding despite no clearance from the pollution control board. More shockingly, the district administration had filed non-bailable cases against villagers who are protesting the menace. This is how we are saving the environment. Seminars alone won’t bring change. We will have to walk the talk,” he said.
Forest secretary A.K. Singh drew the chief minister’s attention towards scanty budgetary allocation for the department. “Compared to other departments, we get much less. This year, we barely received Rs 200 crore whereas the budget shot up from Rs 300 to Rs 3,000 crore. We should receive at least Rs 1,000 crore in the next fiscal,” he said, adding that they would soon launch an Eco Tourism Authority.
Nitish Priyadarshi, geologist and conservationist, welcomed the scheme, but stressed that monetary incentive alone could not turn Jharkhand green. “The government needs both vision on forest protection and will power to sustain conservation drives across the state,” he said.
Source The Telegraph