KOCHI: Hill regions (high ranges) in three Kerala districts have been identified for implementation of a unique eco-governance programme in the country. Crucially, it won't alienate the local population. On the contrary it will include them in the process by encouraging them to continue with their traditional occupation but in a manner that doesn't damage the larger environment.
A detailed project report for the restoration and sustained conservation of 3,000 sq km of sensitive land in Idukki and eastern parts of Thrissur and Ernakulam districts has been submitted to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF). This plan, jointly prepared by the Global Environment Facility (GCF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will be forwarded to Kerala government for the final nod.
"Conservation theme that GCF and UNDP adopted this year was 'conservation and sustainable development of mountain landscape'. The project will help Kerala implement a futuristic plan to preserve high ranges,'' sources told TOI.
The state will receive a grant of Rs 35 crore for the five-year programme. "Several ongoing projects will be integrated with it,'' said V Gopinath, principal chief conservator of forests. The state government will input all these points, including the role that local bodies can play, once the UNDP report is forwarded. "Every organisation will be included in the exercise. We're modelling it a lot on the Periyar project where neighbourhood population played a role in conservation,'' sources said.
The project will be implemented under the supervision of a nodal agency for co-ordinating the functioning of departments like forests and revenue. "It won't be a sectoral approach. The whole focus is a multi-prong strategy. It will be an inclusive programme in which all land users will be stakeholders," a senior official said.
Source:The Times of India,4 July 2013