Forest secretary Alka Tiwari in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, July 24: Jharkhand has earned the dubious distinction of being one of the worst performers in climate and environment protection, faring poorly in a survey carried out by the Planning Commission.
The report card showing Jharkhand in 20th position on the Environment Performance Index (EPI) 2012 was sent by the Planning Commission to the forest secretary two days ago.
“The report is yet to be released officially, but being ranked 20 among all states and Union territories cannot be termed good,” said forest secretary Alka Tiwari. She was speaking at the first state-level consultation meet on climate action plan organised by Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board today.
For the index, the state was judged on five parameters. “We have been rated 23rd in terms of air quality, 10th for water quality, 9th in waste management, 15th in forest conservation and 32nd in climate change actions,” Tiwari said.
Explaining the index, adviser, Planning Commission (E&F), Indrani Chandrashekharan said it was an exercise initiated by the Planning Commission and ministry of forest and environment to rate states on sustainable development. It is also an attempt to build pressure on states to take biodiversity and environment conservation seriously.
“The performance index was done on five criteria and 16 parameters. The states that finished on top are Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat,” Chandrashekharan told The Telegraph from New Delhi.
Faring poorly were Delhi at 30th place, followed by Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Punjab and Lakshwadeep.
“We began the index mapping exercise three years ago. The connection between the index and future funding of states is currently under discussion as we are talking to stakeholders to help them prepare a proper roadmap,” Chandrashekharan said.
She added that these were the final rankings based on which states would be monitored in future.
The poor ranking appeared to have woken up the guardians.
Jharkhand, which since 2008 had been sitting on the Centre’s directive to submit state-level climate action plans, today met with various stakeholders to officially kick off the drafting process.
After the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, carbon credits were introduced to reduce carbon emissions. On June 30, 2008, the Centre launched National Action Plan on Climate Change under which it identified eight areas of concern and chalked out a 10-year work plan to reverse dangers of global warming.
That same year, it directed all states to come with up with respective plans stating concerns specific to it and ways to tackle them.
Jharkhand did nothing.
“Yes, we are way behind, but we will catch up soon. We have identified six areas — agriculture, water, energy, industry, forest and mining— to form the basis of the state climate action plan. Independent groups have been formed and today’s meet will set the ball rolling for the drafting exercise. By August we aim to complete it and after final consultations, we will send the draft to the Centre in September,” claimed Tiwari.