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Maharashtra cabinet nod to climate fund plan for coastal restoration

The Maharashtra cabinet has given its assent to the implementation of a Global Climate Fund initiative — Enhancing Climate Resilience of India’s Coastal Communities — in four districts on the Konkan coast, including Palghar, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and Raigad
By Prayag Arora-Desai, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUN 12, 2021 12:03 AM IST

The Maharashtra cabinet has given its assent to the implementation of a Global Climate Fund initiative — Enhancing Climate Resilience of India’s Coastal Communities — in four districts on the Konkan coast, including Palghar, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and Raigad.

The six-year project, which is funded partly by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) through the United Nations Development Programme, partly by the Union environment ministry and partly by the state government, will aim to restore about 3,350 hectares of mangroves, 35 hectares of corals and 400 hectares of coastal watershed area in these districts, in addition to creating “climate-adaptive livelihoods” for coastal communities, in the form of aquaculture projects.

The state government in its cabinet meeting on Thursday appointed the additional principal chief conservator of forests (APCCF), mangrove cell, as the state projector director, allowing him to open up a bank account to receive funding from the GCF.

“Maharashtra’s contribution is about $19 million, while the MoEFCC is allocating another $20 million. The state governments of Orissa and Andhra, where the project is also being implemented, are contributing $20 million each, while the GCF is providing $43 million in all,” said Virendra Tiwari, APCCF, mangrove cell. Out of $43 million, Maharashtra will be getting a share of 11.43$.

The targeted areas for the project in Maharashtra are Devgad, Malvan, Vengurla, Dapoli, Guhagar, Rajapur, Panvel, Uran, and Dahanu and Palghar. Initiatives in each of the four districts will be overseen by district-level steering committees (which are yet to be created), which in turn, will report to a state-level steering committee (headed by the chief secretary). “We have already submitted an annual work plan to UNDP. That is awaiting the chief secretary’s nod before work can start,” Tiwari said.

Though specific numbers for Maharashtra were not provided, the scheme aims to create employment opportunities for 1.7 million beneficiaries across three states, of which, 50% are targeted to be women. Ornamental fisheries, crab culture, mussel farming, seaweed farming and oyster farming are some of the livelihood opportunities that the scheme intends to create over the next six years. For this purpose, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has already provided the mangrove cell with a list of creeks and inlets along the coast which may be conducive for these activities.

“We will also need to conduct an assessment of where exactly the mangrove and coral restoration initiatives need to be implemented, for which an appropriate expert organisation will be engaged. While we have some experience with mangrove restoration, coral restoration requires specialists. The idea is to translocate corals into suitable environments and let them grow naturally. Local communities will be consulted and involved in the eco-restoration efforts,” said Tiwari.

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