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Himachal may go Costa Rican way on environment

Shimla, Feb 22 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Monday said that the environmental policies used in Costa Rica would be applied in the state, as far as found applicable.

‘We have studied in detail the models adopted by Costa Rica to increase forest cover and to check carbon emissions. These models can’t be applicable in the state due to different environmental and other laws, but some of the policies could be replicated here,’ Dhumal told reporters.

The chief minister led a delegation, comprising Forest Minister J.P. Nadda, to the Aentral American nation and the US from Feb 9 to 17 to study environmental models and to meet the World Bank (WB) officials.

‘We would have our own master-plan that includes a baseline study of details of measures to tackle problems mainly related to urban solid waste, industrial pollution and ecological degradation caused by hydropower projects. It would even be adopted by other Himalayan states,’ Dhumal said.

Praising the Costa Rican government, he said: ‘In the past two decades, the country has managed to increase its forest areas from 21 percent in 1987 to 51 percent now due to stringent deforestation laws.’

Dhumal said the state would have a centre for climate change for adopting strategies to enhance the state’s preparedness for natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, glaciers outbursts and flash floods.

The WB has already agreed to provide a Programmatic Development Policy Loan of $450 million to the state for sustainable environmental growth.

Himachal Pradesh already has a quarter of its geographical area under forest cover.

The state is most vulnerable to climate change as the Himalayan glaciers have been retreating due to global warming.

As per the forests department, the state has 37,033 sq km forest area out of which 1,896 sq km is reserve forest.

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