Thursday, April 23, 2009

Environment takes a back seat.

Ashwin Aghor
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 3:12 IST

Mumbai: While the ever worsening problem of global warming and climate change has already started showing its effects, future rulers of the nation have completely ignored it.

Manifestos of political parties have all the colours, but green. Almost all the political leaders have conveniently forgotten the issue and no one is even talking about it.

"There is not a single political leader who is talking about the issues like state and Central grazing policy and man-animal conflict in Vidarbha. Cattle from Gujarat and Rajasthan migrate to the state for fodder and add to the already existing fodder problems here," said Kishor Rithe of Satpuda Foundation, an NGO working for environment and forest conservation in central India.

He said that grazing policy has not changed since 1968. "A faulty grazing policy has resulted in acute fodder shortage, and has led to steep decline in cattle population and subsequently milk production," said Rithe. He said that people's representatives, who created much hue and cry when the man-animal conflict was on peak in Chandrapur district, have totally forgotten it during the election campaign.

"Almost all of them are after destroying rich forest cover in the district by supporting various coal mines proposed in the area. They are deliberately delaying formation of eco-sensitive zones around protected areas in the state. Once the eco-sensitive zones are announced, they would not be able to bring in coal mines," said Rithe.

Debi Goenka of Conservation Action Trust alleged that the NCP leaders are determined to allot a coal mine near Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve to Adani Mining Private Limited. "The mine will destroy 1,800-hactare rich forest in Chandrapur. Surprisingly, no political leader is opposing it despite it being against national forest policy.

Climate change expert Nishikant Kale from Amravati said, "Vidarbha needs an urgent revolution through clean energy sources doing away with coal. Global warming has already started showing its effects in Vidarbha, especially on agriculture sector."

He opined that delay in implementation of national bio-fuel policy would further worsen the problem. "It is high time the policy was implemented which was announced in March 2008," said Kale.


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