Odisha, the first state to have formulated the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) in the country seems to have dug its feet over the implementation of the ambitious plan aimed at fine tuning the balance between industrial growth and environment protection.
Delay in preparation of reports by concerned departments, delineating action points and strategies for implementation coupled with lack of inter-departmental coordination has held up the plan implementation envisaging an expenditure of Rs 17,000 crore.
“The CCAP implementation appears to have gone for a toss. While it was initiated with missionary zeal, it has not moved at the desired pace given the fact that the state was the first to come out with such a plan. The special cell for CCAP needs to go into active mode and departments have to be urged to hasten the work on plan execution,” said Bhagirathi Behera, former director (environment) of Odisha government.
A senior official admitted that various departments have lagged in CCAP implementation. “The 11 concerned departments were asked to submit reports detailing their plans by May-end. But, they are yet to do so and have sought additional time of one month,” he said.
The state government had sent the final CCAP to Union ministry of environment & forests in June last year. The CCAP envisages action to be taken on 303 points. A special cell was created within the state forest & environment department to oversee the implementation of the plan.
The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds and World Bank funds available with some departments are to be utilized in the implementation of the plan, which intended to help the state to move towards a carbon conscious and climate resilient state.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had constituted a high-level coordination committee headed by the Chief Secretary to steer the preparation of the draft Action Plan. Eleven working groups were constituted on agriculture, coastal zones and disasters, energy, fisheries and animal resources, forestry, health, industry, mining, transport, urban planning and water resources.
For agriculture, the Action Plan has suggested a climate friendly agriculture policy for the state, capacity building to cope with climate change, people centric watershed development programmes, developing water efficient micro irrigation methods as well as improving monitoring and surveillance techniques.
Other key priorities in the sector are developing sustainable soil, water and crop management practices, increasing the area under perennial fruit plantation to help cope with uncertain weather patterns and undertaking more research on agricultural implications of climate change.
Similarly for industries, the key priorities are setting medium-term emission targets for the thermal power plants, promoting the use of bulk waste material like fly ash and slag, implement a system of compensatory water harvesting at the industrial clusters, integrating climate change concerns in policies and plans for industrial development, carrying out heat island study for Talcher and Jharsuguda area, training various stakeholders on climate change issues and carrying out energy efficiency study for iron and steel, thermal power, aluminium and cement sectors.
In the energy sector, the Action Plan has prioritized on generating cleaner energy through clean coal approaches, reduction of transmission and distribution losses, fly ash utilization and emission reduction from power plants, promotion of small and medium hydel plants, promotion of grid based wind power generation and harness biomass potential.