Forest Dept.’s Vision 2030 document runs into trouble with activists
- The process to map a long-term vision for the Forest Department is running into trouble with many environmentalists and groups opposing the decision to outsource the project.
- The department is undertaking a three-month ‘Vision Document 2030’, a first-of-its-kind document for the Forest Department, which would set a “governance strategy” for management of forests and wildlife in the State for the next “20 years in a sustainable manner”.
- A consultation meet was deferred 12 minutes before its start as objections from environment groups poured in. Objections included, among other things, the tie-up with consultancy firm KPMG to prepare the document.
- While the initiative itself is laudable — and unprecedented among States — the process in which it is being undertaken has caused serious alarm
- The group had pointed to two issues in the consultation: the selective calling of a few organisations while leaving out others who have worked in conservation; and parternering with a private firm while overlooking publicly funded research and academic institutions.
- The terms of contract with KPMG must be shared publicly, while a “rational, transparent, accountable and democratic process” must be instituted.
- Kshithij Urs from the Coalition for Environment Justice in India said the process was part of a “dangerous trend” of outsourcing governance
‘Only for support’
- The selection of KPMG was based on a suggestion from government agency KEONICS, which had used consultancy services for previous vision documents in the State.
- Moreover, the consultancy firm is only for support.
- The Forest Department will be coming up with policy and targets, and we will use them for background research and documentation purposes
- The ‘vision’ aims to break down the targets and methods for the State to meet Sustainable Development Goals, which could be afforestation, agro-forestry, wildlife protection, or climate change mitigation strategies.
- The department’s schemes, from firewood supply to man-animal conflict compensations, will be reviewed for “better delivery”.
HAL to open LCA unit in Nashik
- Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) plans to manufacture LCA fighters at a new unit in its Nashik complex once it exhausts the Sukhoi-30 fighter deliveries from there, HAL’s new CMD R. Madhavan said here on Friday.
- The licence production of the last 24 Sukhoi-30 MkIs is due to end there in March 2020.
- The Nashik and two Bengaluru units — which manufacture two kinds of fixed wing military fighters — face a near-term shortage of work.
- But they would tide over the problem when orders in the pipeline flow in.
- At present, Nashik’s MiG Complex manufactures the Su-30s and the two units in Bengaluru produce LCAs or light combat aircraft.
- There will be shortage of work but there will be no shutdowns.
- They are “slightly on the lower side” compared to a desirable work load that should last between seven and ten years.
- The Nashik unit would also have a continuing order for overhaul of Su-30 engines, worth about Rs. 7,000 crore a year.
Karnataka: Crackers only from 8 pm to 10 pm
- Though the Supreme Court, in a modified order has allowed southern states to burst crackers anytime in the day (for two hours) this Deepavali, Karnataka has chosen to implement the Court’s earlier verdict in toto.
- In a circular dated November 2, the state government directed all departments, primarily the police department, to ensure that firecrackers are burst only between 8 pm and 10 pm, from November 5 to 8.
- Imposing time restrictions, the Apex court had recently said that crackers could be burst only for two hours, from 8 pm to 10 pm, on Deepavali.
- The state government has also directed all civic bodies to explore the feasibility of community cracker bursting during the festival.
- In addition to this, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has been asked to monitor implementation of the cracker guidelines for a full fortnight, seven days prior to the festival and seven days after.
- The government has also imposed a ban on the sale and bursting of series or laris crackers. It has also said that only authorised/licensed dealers can sell crackers.
- They have to strictly adhere to the stipulated guidelines.
- The government has also directed the Information department to conduct educational programmes in schools and colleges about the risks associated with cracker bursting, in addition to carrying out public awareness drives.
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