Receding Himalayan glaciers due to climate change is an area of concern for Himachal Pradesh, said the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

Addressing an orientation workshop on climate change adaptation for MLAs and policy makers, which was organised by Environment, Science and Technology Department on ‘Climate Change Adaptation’, the CM said the climate change had led to loss of vegetation and decrease in ground water recharge even during monsoons.

“He said that as per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the temperature of earth has increased by 2 degree during the last 20 years which has resulted in decrease in glaciers. The Gangotri glacier falling in Himalayan area has receded at the rate of 30 meters per year, he shared.

He said HP is the custodian of environmental conservation and has set new milestones in this field and other states of the country should follow the same.

He said that the state government had prepared an Environment Master Plan for the state.

“We are the only state in the country which, after research on climate change, is implementing adaptation plan up to village and panchayat level,” he said.

Thakur launched the Model Eco-Village scheme on the occasion. The main objective of this scheme is to demonstrate villages as models of sustainable development based on environmentally responsible individuals and collective action for reducing human ecological foot-print through judicious use of natural resources.

In the first phase five villages of the state has been selected. These villages are Tapra in Bilaspur district, Dethal in Sirmaur district, Janjehli in Mandi district, Kamru in Kinnaur district and Charu in Shimla district.

Speaker Dr Rajeev Bindal said that climate change and environment conservation were burning issues worldwide and needs to be redressed at the earliest so that the situation does not go beyond our control.

Ambassador of Switzerland in India Andreas Baum said that Switzerland and the HP have identical geographical and topographical conditions.

“We both can work with greater co-ordination and co-operation of meeting out the challenges of climate change on environment,” he said.

Chairman, NABARD, Harsh Kumar Bhanwala said exclusive projects aimed at mitigating adverse impact on environment due to climate change could be prepared and posed for NABARD funding.