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Faced with unseasonal hailstorms, wet and dry droughts, and damage to eco-systems, the state government has finally come out with a climate change policy.
The comprehensive policy, announced two days ago, has directed all district collectors to prepare strong action plans considering geographical conditions of the district to make disaster management plans in line with climate change indicators.
Protecting forests with participation of people, adopting crop pattern with changing situations, going solar for farming, setting up of climate proof villages, promoting organic farming, eco-system based schemes, and judicious use of water are some of the recommendations of the climate change policy announced by the government.
As per the government, Nandurbar followed by Dhule, Buldhana, Jalgaon, Hingoli, Nashik, Jalna, Gondia, Washim and Gadchiroli districts are top on vulnerability index of climate change effects.
The Centre had in 2008 directed all states to prepare an action plan. As reported by TOI in 2014, the 19-member Maharashtra State Council on Climate Change was formed in September 2008. Its chairperson was the chief minister, and it included ministers and experts.
The council had awarded work on preparing state’s action plan on climate change to The Energy Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi, on August 20, 2009, for Rs98 lakh. Finally, after eight years, the state has announced adaptation and mitigation strategy based on the TERI plan.
Based on the plan, the state has warned that owing to climate change there will be adverse impact on horticulture crops like pomegranate, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangoes etc by 2030. Besides, increasing temperatures and irregular rains will lead to spread of diseases.
The government has defined a role for every department to tackle climate change. Forest department has been told to increase ecological services, by even paying people to protect forests, and reduce biotic pressure on forests. It has been told to take up scientific management of forests.
Similarly, water resources department (WRD) has been told to rejuvenate rivers, recycle waste water, and improve water management among a host of other directions. Other departments like agriculture, energy, health, public works, rural and urban development, finance and planning, and environment have been asked to devise eco-friendly strategies while implementing projects.
As per the division-level index, by 2030 the minimum temperature in Nagpur will increase by 1.18-1.40 degrees, Amravati (1.44-1.64), Aurangabad (1.44-1.56), Nashik (1.4-1.68), Pune (1.15-1.28), and Konkan (1.1-1.28). Similar projections have been made for 2050 and 2070 also.
To gear up to face the challenge, the state has recommended various steps for all departments by categorizing them in first and second priority. Forest department has been told to take up all recommendations on top priority.
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