Shimla: Himachal Pradesh was contemplating to convene a Convention of all Himalayan States in Shimla by inviting all the Chief Ministers of these States. This was revealed by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister after having meeting with the renowned environmentalist Padam Vibhushan, Mr. Sunder Lal Bahuguna, who called on him alongwith a delegation at his official residence here today. He said that the strategy for preserving and conserving the Himalayan ecology will be discussed in this convention. He said that the role being played by the Non-Governmental Organizations and support to them will also be discussed in the convention. The Chief Minister said that he would personally write to all Chief Minister of Himalayan States, including North-Eastern States for their active and personal involvement in this respect.
The State Government had been raising the demand for constitution of a separate Trans Himalayan Authority to cater to the developmental requirements of all these States for the last so many years, said Prof. Dhumal. He said that developmental needs and parameters of hilly States should not be equated with other States, as the cost of development in these States were much higher in comparison to other States. He said that the State had convened Himalayan States Horticulture Ministers Conference successfully in Shimla and added that this conference enabled all the concerned States to share common problems. He said that Chief Minister’s Convention was bound to give strength to the cause and draw the attention of policy makers to the genuine demands of the Himalayan States, including compensating them for protection of the ecology by way of granting Carbon Credits etc..
Prof. Dhumal said that the State had initiated many steps towards environment protection which included complete ban on green felling, use of recycled polythene bags, putting polluting industrial units in the negative list etc.. He said that the State had already raised the environment protection issue of saving Himalayan ecology at all levels. He said that the State was making concerted efforts to make environment protection a mass movement by involving Government and Non Government Organizations. He said that no movement could achieve its objective unless people’s support. He emphasised the need for self discipline by every individual in environment protection activities so that best ecological conditions were maintained.
Chief Minister said that efforts were afoot to motivate farmers to go for organic farming which had greater demand amongst the consumers where various incentives were being provided to them. He said that it would add to the environment protection endeavours initiated by the State Government as also benefit the farmers with remunerative prices for their agriculture produce. He assured Mr. Sunder Lal Bahuguna of all possible help from the State Government for protecting the flora and fauna of the Himalayan regions.
Padam Vibhushan Sunder Lal Bahuguna, urged the Chief Minister to support the cause of formulation of a Himalayan Policy for protection of environment in the entire Himalayan region. He appreciated the steps initiated by the State Government towards protection of environment and checking pollution in the State. He said that pressure should be built for formulation of a separate Himalayan Policy aimed at preservation and conservation of the Himalayan ecology.