Monday, November 28, 2022

‘Forest cover in NE reduced by 1,020 sq km’


Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh on Sunday revealed the forest cover in the North Eastern states has reduced by 1,020 sq km in 2021 compared to the area in 2019.
“India’s Northeast is one of the most diversified regions in the world and we have immense potential to combat climate change threats and preserve the environment,” Singh said addressing the 7th edition of Northeast Green Summit which kicked-off on Sunday at North Eastern Police Academy here in Meghalaya.
The summit was organised by VIBGYOR N.E. Foundation– a not-for-profit organization, specialized in green issues of Northeast India in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, and Guwahati Biotech Park (GBP)
“Although Northeast is green and serene, but the harsh truth is the forest cover in the region has reduced by 1,020 sq km in 2021 compared to the area in 2019, with Meghalaya losing 73 sq km since 2019 mainly to natural calamities, anthropogenic pressure, developmental activities, and shifting cultivation practices,” he revealed.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, Singh said that the government is working towards making Mission LIFE (lifestyle for environment) successful and adapting ‘Pro Planet People’ (P-3) approach for a sustainable future.
“India has already reached one of its Paris Agreement goals of having 40% electricity from non-fossil fuel sources nine years before its deadline of 2030, and will certainly meet the net zero emission commitment by 2070. Protecting the environment is not merely a matter of government policy, it is every individual’s duty to work together for a healthier and greener future,” he informed.
Addressing the summit, Consul General of Royal Bhutan Consulate, Guwahati, Jigme Thinlye Namgyal, highlighted how Bhutan became a carbon negative country and what Northeast India could learn from them.
“The Bhutan government has a history of basing political decisions on a Gross National Happiness (GNH) index, before economic growth. It recognizes the importance of economic growth, but asserts that it must not undermine the nation’s distinct culture or pristine environment,” he said.
Namgyal also informed that 60 per cent of the Bhutan’s total land area remains under forest cover for all time and free hydroelectric power generated by Bhutan’s many rivers is used instead of less environmentally friendly fossil fuels.
“Bhutan also provides free electricity to rural farmers and has banned log exports. Northeast is known for its lush vegetation and diverse flora and fauna. A lot can be done with its wealth of mineral resources. Going local can solve most of the problems,” he informed.
Key-note address was delivered by Editor- The Thuglak Swaminathan Gurumurthy while VIBGYOR secretary Bitapi Luhoe highlighted about the objective of the summit. The three-day event has several activities planned including art walk, bird watching, nature photography, yoga sessions, jungle trail, tribal tattoos making, and handmade paper making among others.

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