KOLKATA, 3 APRIL: Even after a team of scientists took up a framework for state action plan on climate change way back in 2008, the state had to seek 10 days of extension of the deadline to submit the plan at the Centre. The plan would finally be submitted on 10 April.
After the Centre published a national action plan on climate change, several states had begun to prepare their own documents. Chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, was keen on identifying the impact of climate change on livelihood sectors.
Since the state has been identified as one of the regions most vulnerable to global warming and rise in sea-level, a committee was formed which started preparing the framework after a meeting was held on 22 April, 2008. Chief scientist at the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), Mr Dipak Chakraborty, environmental engineer, Ms Dipanjana Maulik and scientist, Mr Debanjan Gupta took the task.
An exhaustive document that sought policy formulation at various sectors was prepared within a span of six months. However, neither the suggestions could be implemented nor the report was referred to, thereafter. On 19 August, 2010, during a national consultation workshop, organised under the aegis of the GOI-UNDP project, in New Delhi, it was reminded that while addressing the conference of state environment ministers in August 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had called upon the states to expeditiously prepare the State Action Plans on Climate Change, according to the strategy outlined in National Action Plan on Climate Change.
The state governments were advised to finalise the plans by 31 March, 2011.
However, West Bengal had to seek 10-days extension to compile reports from the 10 thrust areas ~ water, health, forestry, energy efficiency, non-conventional energy sources, agriculture, sustainable habitat, Darjeeling-Himalayas, Sunderbans and Institute for Climate change studies.
“We have the reports from all the sectors, headed by department secretaries, and some of them have almost been sanctioned,” said Mr Debal Ray, state chief environment officer.
A coastal vulnerability assessment by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), that could have supplemented the plans has also skipped November 2010 deadline because of data deficiency.