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Nitish stresses on sustainable development and environment

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday shared his vision for the states development in a manner that was sustainable with due thrust on environment conservation through measures like afforestation and use of renewable energy resources.

The Chief Minister shared his views at the launch of his governments Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali (water-life-greenery) campaign here, to which all districts, blocks and panchayats were connected through live webcast.

All participants were made to take 11 sankalps (vows) towards environment conservation at the function.

We have chosen this day when we observe August Kranti Diwas (anniversary of the Quit India movement) for the launch of this campaign. We also celebrate on this day Bihar Prithvi Diwas (earth day).

Environmental degradation and climate change caused thereby cannot be overemphasized when we are witnessing the bewildering phenomenon of flash floods inundating several parts of the state alongside drought-like situation prevailing in many other corners, Kumar said.

We are experiencing strange things. Flash floods have been caused as some districts witnessed rainfalls as high as 500 mm within a span of a few days. But in many other parts rainfall has been way short of normal and, yet, these areas have reported more casualties than before on account of people getting struck by lightning, he noted with alarm.

I had a foreboding when at the peak of summer, we were experiencing the moist Purvaiya winds. I was wondering whether this has resulted in a reversal of cycle and we might witness dry, warm winds sweeping the landscape during monsoons. We may not be far from that spectre. For the past many days the sky has been overcast but the clouds seem to fly away without a downpour, he pointed out.

And it is a worldwide phenomenon, glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising and at the same time deserts are said to be expanding. Here, in Bihar we have heard about ground water becoming scarce in the Mithila region. Who could have imagined such a thing for a region which is dotted with rivers, ponds and numerous water bodies of the like, the Chief Minister added.

There is a political consensus in the state about the need for efforts towards environmental conservation. There was unanimity on the issue when we convened a meeting of all members of both Houses of state legislature last month. And we are not going to stop at campaigns. We will come out with a detailed plan of action, he said.

Recalling an anecdote, Kumar said once I visited a village which was electrified through solar energy. Some people complained that it was nakli bijli (counterfeit electricity) as power was not coming through the grid. I explained to them that this was indeed the way forward. Solar energy will be available for ever.

But coal, traditionally used for generating electricity, is bound to become scarce over the years. We have achieved cent percent electrification. But for enjoying continued power supply, we will have to switch to solar energy in a big way, he said.

In addition to electricity, we have promised good roads to every nook and corner in the state. But roads in themselves cannot be sufficient and therefore we have taken up plantation of trees along these on a massive scale. This is essential to keep rising carbon dioxide levels under check and also to recharge ground water table, the Chief Minister said.

One important part of our saat nischay (seven resolves) program is har ghar nal kaa jal (piped water to every household). This can be a reality only if we have abundant supply of water and therefore we must have adequate forest cover to recharge ground water table besides adopting measures like rainwater harvesting, he added.

The Chief Ministers address was preceded by rendition of a song by children carrying the message of environmental conservation which drew admiration from Kumar during his speech.

To underscore the pro-environment message of the program, the Chief Minister was presented with a sapling by Principal Secretary, Environment and Forestry, Deepak Kumar Singh.

Cabinet ministers Nand Kishore Yadav, Shravan Kumar, Krishnandan Prasad Verma and Bijendra Yadav were among those present on the occasion.