Time for Sikkim to Save and Serve Mother Earth together
According to Emile Durkheim, father of Sociology, “Social Facts Should Be Looked At without Any Preconceived Notion. See them In The way They Exist”.
UN Agencies dominated by Developed World should refrain from deciding theme for a robust & environmentally conscious Nation, such as, as ours (right from Ancient Times).
Is’nt India in tune with Mother Earth right from beginning? Is it not true that we had achieved quite A LOT before the international Dialogues on so many Earth related Issues began, more so, from 1989-90 onwards.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India has already complied with the directions of recently held Paris Conference. Looking at compulsions in our vast hinterland, rapid depletion of fossil fuel, climatic uncertainties etc. we have begun fortifying our Solar energy prowess.
The year 1989-90 could be termed as a Watershed, as the UN, influenced by Americans, gave the clarion call for “Sustainable Development”.
Incidentally, thanks to guidance of Late Dr.R.K.Pachauri, in 1995, I was put in the first group of IAS and 5 to 6 from other sectors to understand the Nuances of Sustainable Development. So, by now, we know, What is Sustainable Development?
Its MANTRA is ” Utilise the MOTHER EARTH Resources in such a way, so that We Leave Enough For Our Grandchildren”.
On any given day, one finds oneself in a confused state. Plethora of challenges-Air, Water& Noise pollution confront on the one hand and on the other hand, it is global Warming or Global Cooling that one needs to guard against.
All said and done, it is Man-Animal conflict, which being crucial, should be at back of our mind. Why there is Food Chain ?And Why do we need Tiger to maintain the Chain?
Incidentally, I spoke on it as a Theme for the Earth Day in 2012, while heading Sikkim S&T and Climate Change Dept. as a Principal Secretary. Needless to say that such conflicts continue to grow day by day.
Before I had a “Brush” with UNDP, WORLD Bank & IMF, in our Small, Beautiful ,Happening state of Sikkim, we had initiated works for preservation & conservation of Earth Right From 1989 and 1996. We may not be best in North East in terms of Forest Cover, yet present 48 % has been an improvement of 5 % in a decade ,as per Forest Survey of India.
How do we survive when so called Guardians of Forest do things in an opposite manner both in Centre & States?
It is not that our common man is against Environment but in view of high rate of urbanisation, thanks to undeterred fund Flow, he /she too has to survive & sustain.
As a result, we are having Highest density of rural roads in young Geological formation of Sikkim. Many a time, schemes are imposed on community to augment “Khanapuri” at the national levels.
We are having Environment education paper in schools soon after decision of the Supreme Court, more than12 years ago. Majority of our Panchayats are headed by Women and they are joint owners of land as per our law. No Man- head of family can make withdrawal from GPF unless spouse has consented to.
In such a scenario, women & children make substantial contribution FOR
**Keeping a Close watch on Ban on Grazing activities,
**Keeping the state polythene free from 1989 onwards. For Quite some time now, Litter Free zones have become a Reality By Door to Door collection of Garbage.
**Water conservation & Rain Water Harvesting-
Our Dhara Vikas Yojana(Ground Water Recharging) has takers all over, thanks to fillip given by NITI AAYOG & Ministry of Water Resources.
**Planting of endemic species in land slide prone & Sinking Zones,
**Having a Say in deciding Tenders at Village level for more than a decade, so that nothing should destroy nature.
**10 MINUTES TO EARTH Plantation SCHEME
**Capacity building of service providers & various stakeholders- Use of indigenous resources in Nature Trails & Treks. Also to encourage use of LPG
Resolve of State To Go Organic
The State Assembly, way back in 2003, passed an unanimous Resolution To Make Sikkim a Fully Organic State.
Sri Pawan Chamling, the then Chief Minister, single- handedly led the challenge and pursued the same for more than a decade, even though concerned Agriculture Secretaries without much understanding over the years went “beating around the bush”. Even the Chief Secretaries would not show requisite inclination.
However, by April 2006, Sikkim Organic Mission(SOM) was in a position to become a force to reckon with. Th C.M. led from the front State’s Plan of SOM and related Eco Tourism steps during ITB, Berlin (March 2006) and some Flower festivals at Amsterdam and other European capitals. We also had useful interactions with the Key stakeholders in Rome,Milan,Geneva,Paris and London.
The “D” Date
Finally Sikkim was declared First fully Organic place of the World by the Prime Minister at Gangtok on 18/1/2016. The event was graced by ten to twelve Chief Ministers and Governors And the reluctant Secretary of Agriculture, Govt. of India. All the Agriculture ,Horticulture & A.H.Secretaries of the states, showered praises.
The Prime Minister appeared very cheerful and with an expression of the fresh twinkle of his eàgle’s eye, extended his stay to see the variety of organic fruits & veggies, especially grown at Saramsa Gardens, Ranipool.
Some of the FPO reps too got a rare chance to interact with him. Earlier since June 2014 onwards he had showered praises on Sikkim’ Green & Organic commitment, whenever an occasion arose within and outside the country.
From nothing to two or three international recognitions, between January 2016 and April 2019, were feathers in the cap of Sri Pawan Chamling who continued as C.M. for almost 24 years. It appeared as if Flag of Organic Farming was going to fly up and up elsewhere. All said and done , the movement and the Man had become Synonymous.
However, the end of May 2019 proved to be a setback, rather a Waterloo for the wishes & aspirations of State Organic farmers, who were not availing of any Fertilizer subsidy for over a decade, despite possessing mandatory Soil Health Cards.
At present no one is showing the courage & wherewithal to revive & sustain the movement.
Soon it may be confined to the dust bin of History, if the Government of the day does not prove to be the Saviour or a Morale Booster.
The author is former Chief Secretary, Sikkim