Ten Himalayan States Demand Green Bonus And A Separate Ministry
Recognising their role at international borders and contribution to environment conservation, representatives of 10 of the 11 Himalayan states came together on July 28 to demand a ‘green bonus’ and creation of a separate ministry to deal with concerns in their regions.
‘Green Bonus’ refers to an additional budgetary provision for the ecological services-green cover, fresh air and rivers of the state.
States presented the twin demands to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the one-day conference of Himalayan States held in Mussoorie on July 28.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured all support for the development of the Himalayan states and their vital issues. “The Himalayan states are on the top priority list of the Centre,” she said during the event.
— Trivendra Singh Rawat (@tsrawatbjp) July 28, 2019
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, Meghalaya CM Conrad Kongkal Sangma, Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio, Arunachal Pradesh Deputy CM Chowna Mein, Mizoram Minister T J Lalnuntluanga and Tripura Minister Manoj Kanti Deb were also present in the conference.
At the daylong Conclave of the Himalayan State, including representatives of the 10 hill States came together to sign the historic #MussoorieResolution to pledge to protect and conserve the ecosystem.@tsrawatbjp @nsitharaman @RajivKumar1 @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/r7R1IO2Rae
— Conrad Sangma (@SangmaConrad) July 28, 2019
Except for Assam, Chief Ministers, Ministers and Bureaucrats from 10 other Himalayan states participated and put forward their common agendas. Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur were in attendance.
The states also expressed their need for financial assistance and aids from the Centre in programmes of conservation and replenishment of rivers and the other centre-sponsored schemes. The need to develop new tourist destinations to ease the load on the existing ones as they have reached a saturation point was also highlighted by many states.
On a priority basis, the states also demanded the development of borders in the view of security.
“For their environment service, Himalayan states should get a green bonus. The states will make an effective contribution in water conservation mission of the Prime Minister,” said Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat told the media.
Elaborating on the motive behind a green bonus, Rawat said most of the country’s rivers originate in the Himalayas, and therefore the states have to play a significant role in water conservation initiative.
He said it was also necessary because the Himalayan states’ contribution to environmental conservation was the maximum with their green cover.
The states were also at a disadvantage because large swathes of land fell into eco-sensitive zones where all sorts of development activities could not be carried out, Rawat said. A green bonus is thus needed to compensate the Himalayan states for their disadvantages, he explained.
Further, it was decided that such a conclave should be organised every year to discuss common issues related to the Himalayan states.