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Minister home truths at green conclave

If you visit Palamau in summer as a baraati but don’t get a warm welcome, blame environment degradation and not the bride’s family.

State human resource development minister Baidyanath Ram made this telling observation at the inaugural season of the three-day international conference on Anthropogenic Impact on Environment and Conservation Strategy on Friday in Ranchi University where he was invited as the chief guest.

“During summer, Palamu hotels shut shop due to water crisis. As deep borings dry up and water crisis grips the area, the bridegroom’s party is asked not to stay for more than one night. Things have come to such a head due to regular environment degradation. PCC and black-top roads prevent percolation of rainwater into the soil. The area’s green cover, which causes rains, is vanishing by the day,” said the minister at the university’s Aryabhatta Hall before over 400 delegates.

Ram recalled the time when residents of the state didn’t need ceiling fans in summer. “We even used wrappers, light shawls. Now, even coolers and ACs are insufficient to cool a room. As children, we were told that the first rain had medicinal properties. Now, we fear acid rain, thanks to pollution, and call our children indoors,” he said.

Using everyday examples, Ram blamed the non-judicious use of vehicles and air-conditioners for aggravating global warming.

“People use air-conditioners all the time as a status symbol. They forget about the harm caused to the environment. I’ve seen people sitting alone inside the stationary car without caring for emission,” he said.

Ending his well-received speech, he said: “If the process of environmental degradation continues, one will definitely witness the third world war due to water crisis, despite the fact that two-thirds of the earth is covered with water.”

Earlier, Ranchi University vice chancellor L.N. Bhagat said global warming was a big challenge.

“The rise in population have put a heavy burden on earth and increased environmental degradation. One should not forget that earth has enough to fulfill our need but not to fulfill our greed,” he said, quoting Mahatma Gandhi.

The conference organised by National Environmentalist Association will conclude on Sunday at St Xavier College. As many as 460 research papers will be submitted in the meet that will last between 9am and 6pm, of which 250 will be read across 25 sessions at five venues on St Xavier’s College premises. The rest will be put up on the walls of the college for students to read.