On eve of polls, Bihar parties underline importance of ecological issues
Political parties cutting across the divide said ecological issues needed to be addressed separately with urgency to deal with the vagaries of nature in Bihar.Updated: Sep 19, 2020, 11:56 IST
The issues of climate change and its implications on lives and agriculture are high up on the political parties’ agenda for the upcoming Bihar assembly polls with both the ruling coalition and the Opposition parties backing the idea of releasing a separate manifesto on the issue.
Worried over an unpredictable weather making Bihar suffer from either floods or droughts regularly, chief minister Nitish Kumar had last year launched Jal-Jivan-Hariyali mission, which saw over 5 crore people forming a human chain across the state for conservation of environment and natural resources.
“The state government has launched many initiatives to protect the environment. However, these efforts needed to be carried out and extended further in view of huge population density and burgeoning demand of the people for comfort,” said information and public relations department minister Neeraj Kumar at the consultation organized by centre for environment and energy development (CEED) one the need to prepare a climate manifesto for 2020 assembly polls here on Friday.
Kumar, who represents the JD(U), also welcomed the commitment made by other political parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress and Janadhikar Party for ecological conservation in their election manifestos.
Citing the widespread impact of flooding, which hit more than 82 lakh population in the state this season, the leaders said that Bihar has been caught in a peculiar situation where some parts faced drought while some other areas grappled with deluge.
“It is a matter of worry that a historic city like Patna has been rated among the worst in terms of ambient air quality, due to the government’s inability to keep it clean,” said Congress leader Harkhu Jha.
BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand said that the NDA government had done a lot for minimising the human loan on the earth, but still a lot was required to be done for the management of municipal wastes, extension of forest cover and reduction of natural calamity through smart ways.
“Deputy chief minister Sushil Modi had presented a separate green budget for the purpose. The party may consider presenting a separate manifesto on the environment for the coming assembly polls,” said Anand.
RJD spokesman Mrityunjay Tiwari said that Jal Jivan Hariyali mission was launched with good intentions. “But complexities in its realization and general reluctance of the bureaucracy towards the issue had pushed the state on the verge of disasters like unseasonal rains, floods, water logging and changes in the cropping patterns,” Tiwari added.
Congress leader Jha said the onus for conservation of natural resources and checking ambient pollution lied equally on the society. “The government cannot alone do everything to protect the environment. The issue is high on the Congress’ priority list and it may plan presenting a separate manifesto for conservation of environment and wildlife,” added Jha.
JAP spokesman Awadhesh Lalu also supported the idea for a separate manifesto on conservation of natural resources.
Chief executive officer of CEED Ramapati Kumar urged the leaders of political parties to help Bihar tide over the prevailing crisis engendered by climate change that has badly impacted health of the people and prosperity of the state.
Rajkumari Devi of Muzaffarpur, popularly known as Kisan Chachi, underlined the role of women in sensitizing the masses for conservation of environment for a better future. President of Bihar industries association, Ram Lal Khetan, Vivek Kumar of Asian development research institute (ADRI), and a host of prominent personalities from civil society, entrepreneurs, commercial and cultural organisations participated in the event and suggested ways to deal with ecological challenges.