Political representatives cutting across party lines today gave a call for making concerted efforts not only neutralize the effects of climate change but devise policy initiatives to minimise these effects.Representatives of political parties were attending a seminar titled ‘Connecting the Dots’ organized here by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and British Deputy High Commission, Chandigarh.Delivering a key note address, Bikram Singh Majithia, Non-Conventional Energy Minister, Punjab said the government had accorded top priority to climate change issues and was fully sensitized to its potential impacts on humans, eco-system and economy besides the efforts required to mitigate it. He said the government was focussing on implementing an integrated energy and climate policy as well as creating awareness about the issue.
Mr. Majithia pointed out that industrialized countries accounted for almost 80% of Co2 emissions in the atmosphere with the USA being the biggest contributor of almost 50.7 billion tonnes of Co2 emission since 1950. He said developed economies should therefore also take the responsibility to lead from the front in addressing this problem.
He said Punjab had already initiated the process of preparation of Strategy and Action Plan for Climate Change (SAPCC) with technical support from GIZ (German International Cooperation), as per National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) framework. It focused on integrating climate change into policies and programmes of the state. He said Punjab had also proposed to establish Centre of Excellence on Climate Change at PAU, Ludhiana. Besides this, a unique ‘Greening Punjab Mission’ has also been launched to increase the area of the state under forest cover from the present 5.13% to 15% by 2022 by planting 40 crore saplings. He said that our government has already taken legislative measures to prevent transplantation of paddy before 10th June.
He further said that the industries which were earlier using fossil fuels in the furnace of boilers / other furnaces have now been shifted to bio-mass as fuel.He revealed that Green Building concept had been introduced as part of building plan approvals. Similarly he said PSPCL was encouraging the usage of CFL instead of conventional lighting system.Me Majithia said the department of Housing & Urban Development had prepared a policy to the effect that each plot holder having area more than 40 sqm shall provide properly designed rain water harvesting system to replenish the ground water and to improve its quality.
Stressing on the need to harness maximum potential of renewable energy, Mr. Majithia informed that PEDA has so far facilitated the installation and commissioning of NRSE projects in the state to the tune of 577 MW and the target was to achieve a capacity addition of 2250 MW power through Renewable Sources of Energy by the year 2022.He said that the State was producing 13 million tons of rice straw every year and had prohibited the indiscriminate burning of rice straw in open fields which was the major source of generation of Green House gasses.
Speaking on the occasion, Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Member Parliament appreciated the efforts of UK government in reaching to the political leaders to create awareness as well as making collective efforts to meet the challenge of climate change. She said that the Greening Punjab Mission was a major stride towards saving the environment. She said that Punjab being the mainstay of nation’s food security, every inch of available land was being cultivated by the farmers. She said that the fast depleting ground water was a major challenge before the state as earlier 25% need of the irrigation was meted by ground water and remaining 75% was from river and canal water but now the situation was vice versa. She said that the state’s irrigation system was around 150 years old resulting in leakage of 35% capacity. She asked the UK Minister for Climate Change to get Rs.3500 crore funding required for rejuvenation of this system sanctioned from World Bank or other international agency as implementation of this project could save precious ground water. She also briefly outlined the concept of Nanhi Chaan launched by her with the dual purpose of saving Girl Child and planting trees. She informed that under this project till date 18 lac saplings have been distributed in the state and now her focus was 650 villages of her Bathinda constituency.
Earlier, Baroness Sandip Verma, Energy and Climate Change Minister, UK said that the purpose of organizing the seminar was to build collaboration with Indian government politicians, business, research communities and civil society by exchanging policy good practice and sharing the UK’s experience. She said that the legislators have a key role to play in tackling the serious issue of Climate Change and put on necessary legislations.On this occasion Mr. David Lelliot, British Deputy High Commissioner, Dr. Pramod Kumar, Chairman Punjab Governance Reforms Commission, Mrs. Kamna Raj Aggarwalla, Past Chairperson CII and Ms. Rachel Brass, First Secretary-Climate Change British High Commission also expressed their views.On the occasion a ‘Climate Change Toolkit’ developed for leaders in Punjab was also released.Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion included Mr. NK Sharma, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Industries, Mr. Brahm Mohindra, Mr. Randeep Singh Nabha, Mr. Pargat Singh, Mr. Balwinder Singh Bains and Mr. Manjit Singh Manna (all MLAs).