The Members of the Committee for Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety, and Consumer Protection of the German Federal Parliament, led by Mr. Harald Ebner, called on the Sikkim Chief Minister – Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) at his official residence in Mintokgang on Monday.
Ebner lauded the strategies initiated by the Sikkim Government toward environmental conservation and protection.
The Sikkim CM apprised the salient features of the concerned schemes, which aim to increase agricultural productivity and develop the citizens’ livelihood. He remarked that the practice of organic farming includes numerous health and environmental benefits, been adopted in several states of the nation.
“The ban on single-use plastic and plastic bottles is also a step toward reducing the negative impact of these non-biodegradable items”, he added.
The delegates informed the Sikkim CM about the return and deposit system, success in Germany.
According to the system, when a consumer purchases certain products, an amount is paid (Pfand) for the container and will be refunded once the container, bottles, and cans are returned, thereby reducing the amount of waste generation.
Responding to the query regarding the government’s endeavors to sensitize people about environmental conservation, protection, cleanliness, and waste management, the Sikkim CM informed about several awareness programs organized at various levels, including educational institutions and Gram Panchayats.
He added that Sikkim was awarded the third position in the Overall Top States (Smaller States & UTs) category under Swachh Survekshan Grameen.
In order to rehabilitate the victims of natural calamities and those belonging to the lower strata of society, the Sikkim CM said, “Our government has been relocating people to a safer location and providing accommodations through schemes like Sikkim Garib Awas Yojana and Sikkim Urban Garib Awas Yojana”.
The Sikkim CM expressed gratitude toward the delegates for their visit to Sikkim and expressed his desire for collaboration in efforts to combat environmental issues, ecosystem preservation, and disaster management.
The meeting highlighted the issues on which Sikkim could benefit from the Indo-German partnership. It focused on issues like the fragility of Sikkim’s eco-system, impacts of climate change on glaciers and waterbodies, and the urgent need to restore forest landscapes, like the oak and coniferous forest, and invasive species management. It also discussed the potential of Sikkim in the eco-tourism sector.
The delegation noted that Sikkim serves as a role model for environment conservation. It ensured to highlight climate change issues of Sikkim in the G20 forum.
Similarly, the delegates also expressed their hopes to exchange ideas for benefits of the environment. The meeting concluded on a positive note with assurance for future collaboration with the State of Sikkim.
Chief Secretary Shri V.B Pathak, ACS Forest Department Shri M.L Srivastava, Secretary to HCM Dr. S.D Dhakal, DC Gangtok Shri Ragul K, and senior state government officials were also present during the meeting.