Nagaland’s Green Mission

An ambitious looking State Level Workshop on Green India Mission was conducted at the State Capital on August 27, 2012. Here the officials and concerned Minister for Forests, Ecology, Environment & Wildlife spoke about how Nagaland remains vulnerable to climate change and the things that need to be done. In this regard, the Central Ministry has approved the implementation of Green India Mission Project in the most vulnerable district of Mon and Mokokchung initially during 2011-12. During 2012-13 it is proposed to take up the Green India Mission in other districts as well. It needs to be mentioned here that the Green India Mission (GIM) was announced by the Prime Minister as one of the eight Missions under National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC). It aims at responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures, which would help enhancing carbon sinks in sustainably managed forests and other ecosystems, adaptation of vulnerable species/ecosystems and adaptation of forest-dependent communities. One of the main objectives of the GIM is therefore to increase forests/tree cover and also to improve the quality of our forests. 

The other important thing that should not be missed out in our discussion of a green mission is the perennial problem of forest fires that we have come to experience in Nagaland. Does the GIM have the necessary safety plan to tackle forest related fire during the dry season from January onwards? Incidents of forest fires are not just a phenomenon unique to Nagaland but it is a worldwide concern. Forest fires can destroy vast hectares of prime forest land. So what happens if the hard work of the GIM is neutralized by such a thing as forest fire disasters? More than the prevention aspect, we need to look at disaster response. This concern has to be raised at the policy making level. Then we also have to try and make a balance between economic development and environmental protection. This will require awareness at the government level towards undertaking Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), which is a standard practice to minimize the assault on the environment.

Now that the GIM is being launched, the question remains—how we can honestly and effectively implement the same. Can we maintain a professional approach towards programme implementation? If our Ministers and other top officers can lead by example, the majority of the rank and file, i.e. those who actually deliver service on the ground, can also be disciplined to do honest and sincere work. This, in general, is how we need to go about things—if development goals are to be met and programmes succeed. A few years back the same Forest Department announced with much fanfare the declaration of the ‘Year of Plantation’. Perhaps an honest appraisal of the success or failure of this particular programme needs to be undertaken and how much green cover has been added to our State. 

The point made by the Commissioner & Secretary, Amardeep Bhatia that if we plan wrongly now, the impact will hit us a decade from now, is a much needed reminder about how we need to go about doing things—the right way. The GIM is a prestigious undertaking of the Central government and Nagaland should not be found wanting. Hopefully, there will be less political interference in the execution of the mission. The present team of officers must be allowed to function in a professional manner and without the frequent transfers, which not only disturbs their work but also demoralizes them.