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Ministry releases guidelines to sustain Himalayan ecology

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Plans talks with neighbours, biodiversity mapping.

Recognising the importance of the Indian Himalayas as a unique repository of biodiversity, and as part of the official mission for sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem, the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has released guidelines on this.

It is called ‘Governance for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem: Guidelines and Best Practices’. It will form a key input into the mission, as it covers a wide variety of issues like urbanisation, tourism, water security, energy, forest management and infrastructure.

“The mission, whose details are under preparation, aims to scientifically study the impact of climate change on the Indian Himalayas and is likely to be finalised in a few months and then go to the PM’s council. This mission is a part of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change,” said Jairam Ramesh, the minister for environment and forests, while releasing the report here today.

Besides regulating both religious and non-religious tourism in the Himalayas, the ministry plans to talk to the neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan, among others, on sustaining the mountains’ ecological system.

The government will also establish India’s first fully automated weather station at Almora, in the campus of the GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development. The ministry has also approved a project to the Indian Space Research Organisation for the tracking and mapping of the Indian Himalayan region, which accounts for around 70 per cent of the Himalayan biodiversity hotspot.

“The Indian Himalayas have anywhere between 9,000 and 13,000 glaciers and their measurement and monitoring is required. Therefore, we are open to do joint studies with other countries on this. Our Department of Science and Technology will conduct such studies with its Chinese counterparts on the glaciers,” added Ramesh.

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First Published: Wed, September 30 2009. 00:26 IST