Friday, March 5, 2010

Kerala sets up Green Fund to fight ecological challenges

TPURAM: In the backdrop of climate change and other environmental challenges, Kerala announced a Rs 1000-crore Green Fund for the next five years while earmarking an initial provision of Rs 100 crore in the budget for 2010-11.

State Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac, who presented the budget in the state assembly, said the fund would be utilized to take up projects to preserve natural assets like forests and promote green technology.

Besides restoration of degraded forests, it envisages steps towards acquisition of land to link patches of forests and protect core areas from interference.

It would also give thrust to preservation of mangroves, much of which is facing threat of degeneration. Since a large extent of mangroves is under control of private individuals, a fixed amount would be given to them as incentives to protect mangroves.

Energy conservation being a critical component of green initiatives, all industrial and commercial establishments would have to submit to mandatory energy audit.

The Green building concept would be introduced in the construction sector to promote use of environment friendly methods and materials.

Small-scale units would be set up in all panchayats to converts plastic wastes into pellets.

Isaac said the Green Budget did not scheme just inclusion of few other schemes, but part of the larger aim of creating the concept as the very basis for future planning and development.

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