Bio-diversity study center coming up in Tendong Reserve Forest
27 Feb, Gangtok (IPR) :p A press conference of the Forest Environment Wildlife Management Department, Science & Technology and Mines Minerals and Geology Department Government of Sikkim was held at Forest Secretariat today. The Conference was addressed by Minister Shri T.W. Lepcha, along with Principal Secretaries and Secretaries of the three departments.
The Minister began his briefing with an overview on the major schemes and projects being implemented by the Forest department, and also highlighted the important achievements. He informed of two new programmes to be taken up in the next financial year viz. development of the Biodiversity Ecotourism reserve in the Tendong Reserve Forest and setting up of a biodiversity study centre in that area, and facilitation of a multi dimensional research to study the changes in various biodiversity elements and other natural resources over the last two decades.
Principal Secretary Forest Dr. Thomas Chandy made a detailed presentation of the ongoing programmes of the Department. He informed that the Department has started urban forestry by taking up large scale rhododendron plantation in the major urban areas of the state.
He also informed that a city garden would be developed in near future at Bulbuley with support from Government of India.
Dr. Chandy also threw light on the Forest Plus Programme, a USAID- assisted project, which is implemented in the state in collaboration with MOEF & CC, Government of India. He explained that Sikkim’s participation in this project will enable it to participate in any Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD +) mechanism that emerges from international negotiations. He further informed that Sikkim is the 1st state in India and also in Asia to formulate the concept of jurisdictional REDD+ programme with ecosystem management approach. It may be informed that Forest – Plus aims to develop technologies, tools and methods of sustainable forest management to meet the technical challenges of managing forests for ecosystem health, carbon stocks, biodiversity and meeting livelihoods.
The Principal Secretary also informed of the Green India Mission to be implemented by the department shortly. Similarly, he apprised about the initiatives taken by the Department to ensure distribution of timber arising out of felling operation from road widening and other development works within the state to the beneficiaries of CMRHM and REDRH (both implemented by the RM&DD). He shared that a total of 1,14,655 cubic ft. of timber with estimated financial value of Rs. 58.45 lakhs has been distributed to the beneficiaries (during period Jan 2011 to December 2015) free of cost.
The Principal Secretary also threw light on the State Green Mission, wherein he informed that every year from 15th to 30th June active participation of public from all walks of life is seen during the Paryavaran Mahotsav. He further informed that the Department has adopted a Participatory Forest management for community involvement in forest conservation and development by rationalizing, re-organizing and reconstituting the existing JFMCs and EDCs into nine divisions (4 Territorial, 4 Wildlife and 1 KNP). This was done to make the JFM Committees co-terminus in jurisdiction with gram panchayats wards, he informed.
Dr. Chandy also informed of the proposal to consider the Kanchendzonga National Part as a World Heritage Site sent by the Government of Sikkim to UNESCO Headquarter at Paris, and is currently under consideration of the World Heritage Panel. He informed that the Panel is expected to come out with the final verdict by July 2016.
The Principal Secretary also informed of the concrete steps taken by the Department to tackle the increasing incidence of man –animal conflict.
Speaking on the Government’s plans to upscale the activities of the Himalayan Zoological Park, the Principal Secretary informed that the Department has planned to introduce 38 species of mammals and 40 species of birds and also to create an animal safari. He expressed hope that the entire complex can be completely fenced in near future through prospective private funding.
Dr. Chandy also highlighted some of the ongoing schemes and projects under Wildlife Circle such as the Development of Ecotourism at Golitar, Fambonglho Wild Life Sanctuary, Creation of Banbas Project in Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, and Development of Ecotourism & Allied activities at Chauridara, Green Village South Sikkim. He also apprised about activities undertaken under the State Biodiversity Board, the Integrated Watershed Management Programme and the JICA assisted Sikkim Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Project.
The Principal Secretary also informed that the FEWMD has recently set up a new research cell called REMC – Research, Education and Monitoring Cell in order to provide increased focus on research. He summed up by sharing that the ENVIS or the Environmental Information centre was awarded the BEST STATE ENVIS CENTRE OF INDIA by the
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India on 17th February 2016.
Addressing the Press Conference, Principal Secretary Science and Technology and Climate Change Department Dr. Anil Mainra highlighted about the various projects and schemes carries out by the Departments.
Some of these projects, as elaborated by the Principal Secretary, are the Bioinformatics Centre, the Patent Information Centre, the State Biotech Hub, Molecular and Digital Documentation of Ethno-traditional Practices of Sikkim with reference to human healing, and development of agro-techniques in Ginseng in Sikkim. He further informed that the Department has submitted to various funding agencies proposals such as Mass Production and Propagation of Large Cardamom for livelihood sustainability of rural people of Sikkim using biotechnological intervention, Apiculture training and production for sustainable rural livelihood, exploration and estimation of algal diversity in sacred lakes of Sikkim, understanding climate change and its influences on vegetation across elevation gradients in Sikkim Himalaya, detection characterization and diversity analysis of CTV infecting citrus in Sikkim Himalaya, establishment of Sikkim Biotech incubation center at Karthok Pakyong East Sikkim, Genetic Diversity of Frankia associated with Elaeagnus of North Sikkim, and Study of antagonistic rhizosphere and endophytic bacteria from the consortium isolate from Zingiber Officinale against pythium spp and Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. zingiberi.
The Principal Secretary also highlighted activities under Technology Transfer and Communication Division such as ENVIS Centre Sikkim on Ecotourism, Scientific valuation of Water Purification System in Sikkim (Phase II), Bio Informatics Infrastructural Facility (BIF Centre), INSPIRE Innovation in Scientific Pursuit for Inspired research, Extension of Sikkim Science Centre & Development of 3D Theater, Development of Innovation Hub in Sikkim, Construction of 8 meter diameter Planetarium, and National Children Science Congress & National Science Day.
Dr. Mainra also highlighted the programmes under Remote Sensing and Climate Change division of the department such as Study of Glacier Dynamics of East Rathong Glacier of Sikkim Himalayas, Mapping of Glacier Lakes and development of GIS based Glacier Lake Management Information System for the state of Sikkim, Desertification status
mapping of Sikkim Himalayas, Study on South Lhonak Glacial Lake of Sikkim in terms of GLOF, Alpine ecosystem dynamics and impact of climate change in Indian Himalaya, Sikkim State Climate Change Cell, Snow Cover monitoring of Sikkim Himalaya, Spatial Information Support System for Decentralization Planning, Seismic Hazard and Risk
Assessment of Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya.
Similarly, Secretary Mines Minerals and Geology Department Shri D.P. Sharma , in his address, highlighted the activities achievements and proposed programmes of the department. Speaking on the major activities of the department, he shared about the upcoming project Mamley Fossil Park at Namchi, for which a paper was presented in the
International Conference, Himalayan Karakoram Tibet (HKT), at Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, India. Similarly he apprised the media about the Geological & Geophysical investigation at Bhaley Dhunga for major Sky Walk Project, and the Geophysical Investigation of Uttarey Lake, West Sikkim for rejuvenation of Uttarey Lake.
The Secretary further informed that geological and geotechnical studies are the basic tools for formulating sustainable development considering the difficult terrain. These are being carried out by the department, he informed. He also informed that the Department is issuing stability reports for residential rebuilding construction
mainly in urban areas including providing consultancy services to private entrepreneurs, central/state government agencies.
Speaking about future plans of the department, the Secretary shared that the Department envisages to generate developmental path and model which are environmentally sustainable and socially and culturally acceptable. Further, the Department aims to augment the research and developmental plan to generate relevant data base for better knowledge of geology, geotechnical and geophysical processes that govern the Himalayan environment, to apprise about the negative impact of
unscientific approach on developmental activities and creation of indigenous programmes and technologies. He added that the department plans to generate guidelines for infrastructures build up without loss of landscape and negative environmental side effects.
The press conference was also addressed by Secretary Information & Public Relations Department Smt. C.C. Wangdi. Delivering her welcome address, Smt Wangdi apprised about the objective of the Government to hold series of such press conferences, mainly to inform the general public and more specifically the rural masses about the policies programmes and plans of the Government. She informed that this was the tenth of such series of press conferences.