Himachal to study vulnerability of all villages to climate change

Jun 29, 2018 21:55 | Weather

Dharamsala(Arvind Sharma) June 29, 2018:

Himachal Pradesh government will soon study vulnerability of all villages of the state towards climate change. While the area under Yamuna river basin has already been covered, currently the Beas basin is being covered. “The state already has the block-level vulnerability index and we are implementing adaptation projects in three highly-vulnerable blocks of Sirmaur district,” said Mr D C Rana, Special Secretary cum Director, State Department of Environment Science and Technology, during inaugural session of the three-day media workshop on climate change organised by the Centre for Media Studies here today.

Mr Rana was talking about how media can highlight such positive examples and inspire people to replicate these initiatives. “Himachal Pradesh was one of the first states in India to have prepared the State Action Plan on Climate Change. We all are experiencing the impact of climate change in terms of rising temperature and rainfall patterns. Through the pilot project in drought-prone areas of Sirmaur, we are building resilience of farmers through rainwater harvesting, crop diversification, linkage to markets and crop insurance schemes,” he added.

Mr Rana also talked about the proposal to promote the concept of eco-villages in popular tourist destinations which are also ecologically-fragile. “These villages can be role models in sustainable development through water management, use of renewable energy, cultivation of traditional crops and no use of plastic,” he said.

The workshop being organised by CMS in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), aims at building capacity of journalists at local and regional levels in Himachal Pradesh.

On the inaugural day, several experts shared their experiences in the field of climate change. Ms Annu Anand, Head, Advocacy, CMS, welcome all the participating journalists and resource persons and gave an overview of the activities of CMS.

Dr  S C Attri, Principal Scientific Officer, Department of Environment , Science and Technology,  gave an overview of the State Action Plan on Climate Change and the adaptation projects that have been undertaken in state. “A large segment of our population is dependent on agriculture, which is why the action plan is also addressing the issues related to crop loss, water availability, and diversification. After block-level vulnerability index, we are now studying to village-level vulnerability to climate change based on river basins. The Yamuna basin has been covered while Beas basin is currently under study,” he said. Dr Attri also gave the example of 13 highly vulnerable villages of Dhamoon panchayat near Shimla. “In these villages, we collaborated with mahila mandals to promote contour farming, crop diversification and high-tech green houses to improve economic condition of farmers,” he said.

 Dr S S Randhawa, Principal Scientific Officer, State Centre on Climate Change, talked about climate change hazards and disaster management. He explained the formation of lakes on upper reaches due to melting glaciers and how consistent monitoring can reduce the damages.

“The lake formed due to melting of Gepang Gath glacier in Lahaul valley has expanded from 0.27 sq km in 1976 to 115.51 sq km in 2017. This poses a great risk to downstream areas and hence is being regularly monitored. We have prepared a proposal for setting up early warning systems for such glacial lakes but funding is awaited,” he said.